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Gauhati lawyers continue to boycott Acting Chief Justice Sreedhar Rao’s court

Aditya AK

Lawyers of the Gauhati High Court Bar Association continue to abstain from Acting Chief Justice Sreedhar Rao’s court. Yesterday, the boycott hit a sour note when a group of lawyers reportedly tried to prevent Justice Rao from entering the high court premises.

The protest stems from the ACJ’s alleged mishandling of PILs from the outlying benches of the Gauhati High Court, including one involving Arunachal CM Nabam Tuki.

The Bar Association has demanded that all the PILs be transferred from his court.

The strike began in mid-August and has been going on for the last 15 days. Last week, some lawyers of the Bar Association approached Chief Justice of India HL Dattu to devise a remedy for the situation.

Reports indicate that Justices Ranjan Gogoi, AM Sapre and Amitabh Roy were called upon for assistance. However, the deliberation among the Supreme Court judges seems to have borne no fruit, and the Association has since resumed the strike.

The Bar seems to be divided on the issue, with two senior lawyers – Bhaskar Dev Konwar and Benudhar Das – filing PILs in the high court challenging the decision of the Bar Association to abstain from the ACJ’s court.

In this news report, Das was quoted as saying,

“I have challenged how only 250 to 300 members of the Bar can decide on behalf of over 3,000 members when most members were neither invited nor informed about the resolutions.”

However, other members of the Bar Association beg to differ with this stance. Advocate Ratul Goswami says,

“Out of the 3,000 members, most of them are in favour of the abstention. Only a few are attending the ACJ’s court. We are planning to take action against these advocates.”

According to sources, a Division Bench has deferred the hearing of the two PILs till Monday.

The Bar Association will convene for a meeting tomorrow, September 4, to plot their further course of action. They might just end up resolving to continue the boycott till Justice Rao’s tenure ends on October 20.