Nationwide Lawyers Strike on March 31: Judicial works get paralyzed for 24 hours


Advocates would go on a nationwide strike on 31 March, 2017 against the Law Commission on the call of Bar Council of India for the sake of some immediate changes in the Advocate Act 1961. Lawyers all over India will abstain from work on March 31 to protest against a proposed bill that bars advocates from going on strike, as announced on March 27, 2017. The 266th report titled “The Advocate’s Act 1961” as submitted by the Law Commission called attention to the need of reviewing Regulatory Mechanism and Regulatory bodies etc., and proposed wide ranging amendments in the Advocates Act and continued with the submission of a draft of Advocate (Amendment) Bill, 2017. Bar Council of India (BCI) Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said the proposed amendments by the Law Commission in the Advocates Act were “draconian, anti-lawyer, unconstitutional, undemocratic and anti-people”.

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The recommendations of the Law Commission are against the legal profession and legal education of the country is in danger because of this proposed bill,” Mishra said. The regulation and control of legal profession and legal education is proposed to be handed over to non-lawyers and the advocates will have to face the disciplinary proceedings before people not connected with the legal profession. In Mahipal Singh Rana vs. State of Uttar Pradesh (July, 2016), as mentioned in the report prepared by the law commission, the court had observed that there is an urgent need to review the provisions of the Advocates Act dealing with regulatory mechanism for the legal profession. The commission also threw light on differentiating between genuine and fake lawyers and suggested that the lawyers practicing either with fake or no degree can only be recognized by scrutiny. Law Commission recommends a specific rule making power for Bar Council of India to make rules for verification of certificates of Advocates and for periodical verification of antecedents, conduct, place of practice of Advocates; and to make a data based web-portal of all the advocates.

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To avoid the inconvenience faced by fresh graduates in superior courts, the Commission recommended a specific clause in section 7(1) of the Advocates Act to provide for the rule making power of the Bar Council of India for pre-enrolment training and apprenticeship before the induction of a person as an advocate. The Commission has also observed that the law colleges require transformation in infrastructure and resources along with good library facilities.

The Bar Council said there were chances that charted accountants, architects, politicians, doctors and others would dominate the Bar Council due to the proposed legislation. It said the Commission appeared to have acted hurriedly without considering the recommendations of the BCI and instead considered the suggestions of only non-lawyers. In a nutshell, the Council is of the unanimous opinion that the autonomy, democracy and the mandate of the Constitution of the country are proposed to be throttled by the said bill.

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We are looking forward for the coming situations and could not marginalize the amount of loss suffered due to this call for strike. Judicial work in Delhi was paralysed on March 23 when some 6,000 lawyers went on strike to protest against suggestions that lawyers should be banned from going on strike and slapped with penalties if they do. And sarcastically this time it is even on a large scale. Fingers crossed for the upcoming situations and let’s see who will be in the real loss: the system or the people!!!



Megha Sinha

Indore Institute of Law



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