Bar leaders are not labour or political leaders to call for strikes, they are advocates belonging to a noble profession: Madras High Court
Lawyers

Bar leaders are not labour or political leaders to call for strikes, they are advocates belonging to a noble profession: Madras High Court

"... now-a-days, quite often, Advocates are indulging in strikes and disturbing the functioning of Courts. Even for political reasons, some of the Associations are indulging in boycotts", the Court observed.

The Madras High Court on Friday emphasised that advocates should refrain from resorting to boycotts and strikes, given that this would affect the rights of the litigant public and the justice delivery system.

The Bench of Justices N Kirubakaran and B Pugalendhi made pertinent observations on the issue while providing police protection to an advocate who claimed that he was being prevented from accessing his chambers by members of the Nagercoil Bar Association owing to his non-participation in a strike called over the farmers' issue.

Owing to his non-participation in the strike and given that he appeared for a client in court the same day, he was also suspended from the Bar Association, the Court was told.

Taking a critical view of these events, the Court remarked,

Bar leaders are neither labour leaders nor political leaders to call for a strike and they are advocates belonging to a noble profession."

It went on to observe that legal profession is a noble profession, and advocates are supposed to discharge their duties not only towards their clients and but also towards the society.

"However, now-a-days, quite often, Advocates are indulging in strikes and disturbing the functioning of Courts. Even for political reasons, some of the Associations are indulging in boycotts, according to the political affinity or communal affiliations and various other reasons. This results in affecting not only the rights of the litigants, but also the Advocates, who are ready to discharge their statutory duty as per the Advocates Act and the Bar Council Rules," the Court said.

The Bench opined that lawyers should not resort to strikes in any circumstance when aggrieved litigants are approaching the courts for relief. In this regard, the Bench also referred to allied observations made by the Supreme Court in Ex. Capt. Harish Uppal v. Union of India & Another.

Bar leaders are neither labour leaders nor political leaders to call for a strike and they are advocates belonging to a noble profession.
Madras High Court

The Bench also referred to Gobichettipalayam Association v. The Bar Council of Tamilnadu, wherein the Madras High Court deprecated the practice of lawyers calling for boycotts and of taking action against those advocates, who do not fall in line with the call.

Despite such rulings, the High Court observed that lawyers were abstaining from court work, forgetting their responsibilities and duties to their clients, "who entrust their cases with the fond hope that advocates would conduct their case before Courts with sincerity."

As a result, the justice delivery system is being affected, the Court said.

With these observations, the High Court granted interim relief to the petitioner-lawyer, remarking,

"This Court is not convinced with the call for strike, which is illegal as per the judgments of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, and the petitioner has only done his professional duty to his client and attended the Court and has taken part in the Justice delivery system by conducting cases. For that, the petitioner cannot be put to unnecessary hardship."

This apart, the Bench also directed the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to take appropriate action against the Bar Association for calling the strike.

The matter has been posted to be taken up next on January 18, 2021.

Related Stories

Bar and Bench - Indian Legal news
www.barandbench.com