It is "unprofessional" and "unbecoming" for a lawyer to refuse to attend the court due to a strike or boycott by the Bar Associations as they cannot disrupt court proceedings and put the interest of their clients in jeopardy, the Supreme Court has said.
The top court further observed that an advocate is an officer of the court and enjoys a special status in the society.
A bench of Justices M R Shah and A S Bopanna made the observation while hearing a case in which the advocates in the Rajasthan High Court went on strike on September 27, 2021.
"...it is unprofessional as well as unbecoming for a lawyer to refuse to attend the court even in pursuance of a call for strike or boycott by the Bar Association or the Bar Council. It is further observed that an Advocate is an officer of the court and enjoys a special status in the society; Advocates have obligations and duties to ensure the smooth functioning of the court; they owe a duty to their clients and strikes interfere with the administration of justice," the bench said.
"They cannot thus disrupt court proceedings and put the interest of their clients in jeopardy. Despite the law laid down by this Court in the aforesaid decisions and even the concern expressed by this Court against the strikes by the lawyers, things did not improve...," it said.
The apex court took note of the submission of Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra that BCI has issued the notice to the Bar Association of the High Court of Rajasthan at Jaipur.
The senior advocate stated that there was a call to boycott only one court.
The apex court said even that also cannot be tolerated.
"To boycott only one court will hamper the independence of the judiciary and there may be a pressure on the particular judge whose court is boycotted and it may lead to demoralization of the judiciary," the bench said.
The bench issued notice to the President, Secretary and the Office Bearers of the Bar Association of the High Court of Rajasthan at Jaipur to show cause why contempt proceedings may not be initiated against them.
The matter is listed for next hearing on October 25.
The apex court directed the Registry to serve notices through the Registrar General of the High Court of Rajasthan at Jaipur.
"The Registrar General of the High Court of Rajasthan at Jaipur is directed to see that the notices upon the office bearers/President/Secretary of the Bar Association of the High Court of Rajasthan at Jaipur is served upon them well in time," the bench said in its October 4 order.
Referring to its earlier decisions, the top court said that to go on strike by the Bar Association and the lawyers is absolutely contemptuous and just contrary to the earlier decisions of this Court.
In its earlier order, the apex court had specifically observed and held that the lawyers have no right to go on strike or even token strike or to give a call for strike.
It had also held that nor can they while holding Vakalat on behalf of clients, abstain from appearing in courts in pursuance of a call for strike or boycott.
The entire contents of this article are solely for information purpose and have been prepared on the basis of relevant provisions and as per the information existing at the time of the preparation by the Author. Compliance Calendar LLP and the Author of this Article do not constitute any sort of professional advice or a formal recommendation. The author has undertaken utmost care to disseminate the true and correct view and doesn’t accept liability for any errors or omissions. You are kindly requested to verify and confirm the updates from the genuine sources before acting on any of the information’s provided hereinabove. Compliance Calendar LLP shall not be responsible for any loss or damage in any circumstances whatsoever.