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BCI Appeals To End Lawyers’ Strike, Says Bar Leaders May Face Action If Boycott Continues

New Delhi: The Bar Council of India (BCI) on Wednesday appealed to lawyers to resume work from Thursday, warning that their prolonged absence from all the six district courts here might be taken seriously by the Supreme Court and leaders of Bar Council of India, Bar Council of Delhi, the Co-ordination Committee and all the Bar Associations of Delhi may have to face contempt proceedings if the strike continues.

The coordination committee, however, stood its ground and said that the lawyers will continue to abstain from work on Thursday. It has also resolved to hold a demonstration at India Gate and march towards Parliament on November 15.

Lawyers in district courts abstained from work on Wednesday, demanding the arrest of the policemen who allegedly fired at their colleagues during a clash that took place early November.

The apex bar body said they were “pained” to see that despite agreeing to suspend the strike for 10 days, the coordination committee decided to continue their boycott till the senior police officers who had allegedly fired at the advocates at Tis Hazari court were arrested.

“We fail to understand as to how and why abstinence from Courts is continuing despite the above, and even after a resolution signed on behalf of the Bar Council of Delhi and the Coordination Committee of District Court Bar Associations of Delhi on November 8 for suspension of strike.

“The Bar Council of India had requested for 10 days’ time to make efforts for the arrest of guilty police officers. We are pained to say that the litigant public and Bar Council of India were not given even one strike-free day by the leaders of the Co-ordination Committee who issued statements from November 9 itself resolving to continue the strike,” BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said in a statement.

He further said that the Bar leaders may be removed from their respective offices of the Bar Council or Bar Associations and disqualified to contest future Bar election.

“We would like to inform you that prolonged absence of lawyers from the court in Delhi may be taken very seriously by the Supreme Court of India and the leaders of the Bar Council of India, Bar Council of Delhi, the Co-ordination Committee and all the Bar Associations of Delhi may have to face contempt proceedings as per the judgments of the Supreme Court of India. And Removal from their respective offices of the Bar Council/Bar Associations and disqualification to contest future election of any Bar Council/Bar Associations,” Mishra said.

He added that the BCI has been fully supporting the demands for immediate arrest of the alleged guilty policemen and taken all possible steps from the day of the incident.

Dhir Singh Kasana, general secretary of coordination committee of All District Courts Bar Associations in Delhi, said that advocates of all district courts here will march towards the Parliament on November 15.

“The coordination committee resolved that instead of visiting the home minister on November 15, we shall march towards the Parliament House with the strength of advocates from NCR also. Support from advocates throughout India will also be taken. With this view to present our strength, it is decided that with all the mobilization, the protest march shall take place on November 20 from Patiala House court and proceed to Parliament House. Abstinence from work will continue until further notice,” he said.

The strike continues as a meeting of members of all district courts associations, representatives of the Delhi Police and Lt Governor Anil Baijal, held on Sunday on the orders of the Delhi High Court, failed to find a resolution, Kasana said.

The tension between police personnel and lawyers has been building up since November 2 when a clash over a parking dispute led to at least 20 security personnel and several advocates being injured.

Lawyers in six district courts have been on strike since November 4 to protest against the clash.

In unprecedented protests by the Delhi Police, thousands of its personnel had laid siege outside the police headquarters for 11 hours on November 5 and staged a virtual revolt sparked by two attacks on their colleagues by the lawyers.

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