Lawyers all over India will abstain from work on March 31 to protest against a proposed bill that bars advocates from going on strike, it was announced on Tuesday. 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”. “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.” According to the BCI website, there were some 12 lakh lawyers all over the country as of 2013.
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The Council said there were chances that charted accountants, architects, politicians, doctors and others would dominate the Bar Council due to the proposed legislation.
The Council urged the government to reject the recommendations of the Law Commission.
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.
“It (proposed bill) has defined the misconduct in such a provocative manner that any judge, judicial official or a client can easily say that the behaviour of the lawyer was unlawful, disgraceful or dishonourable,” the Council said.
“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.”
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.