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The Bar Council of India today termed the proposed amendment to the Advocates Act as "utterly regressive" and said that its right place is not the Parliament but the dustbin. The BCI also said lawyers will tomorrow meet Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and submit a memorandum to reject in toto the Law Commission's suggestions to amend the Act. "The amendment Bill 2017 is utterly regressive and its right place is not Parliament but a dustbin and the current office bearers of the Law Commission are required to be deposed from their office," BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said. The apex lawyers body also said that they would abstain from judicial work post lunch tomorrow and will burn the copies of the Commission's suggestion in the court premises across the country. Mishra also expressed hope that the lawyers would not be compelled to take any extreme step and the Centre will resolve the deadlock soon. Lawyers are protesting against the Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2017 that bars advocates from holding agitation and makes them liable to compensate litigants if they go on strike. They are opposing the bill, proposed by the Law Commission of India that lays down the definition of "misconduct" which according to the BCI has only been defined in its rules. "If the recommendations are not rejected in toto till May 1, 2017, then on May 2, 2017, there shall be a rally of BCI.
Members of all the Bar Councils across the country shall assemble at Patiala House Court here and proceed to march to Rajghat in full court dress," BCI said in a statement. The BCI has also decided to initiate a 'jail bharo' campaign in case their demands, to reject the Law Commission's recommendations, were not accepted even after May 2. The proposed changes in the Advocates Act also include removal of a lawyer's name from the rolls if he or she abstains from court work. The BCI had claimed that this will lead to usurping of their right to protest. The Law Commission has further proposed to impose a fine which may extend up to Rs 3 lakh and the cost of proceedings and also award compensation of such an amount, subject to a maximum of Rs 5 lakh as it may deem fit, payable to the person aggrieved by the misconduct of the advocate. Lawyers would also be liable to pay compensation to litigants if they abstain from work even if the client has not paid the advocate. The non-payment of fees either in full or part by a person to his advocate shall not be a defence available for the lawyer against whom claim for compensation due to alleged misconduct or participation in strike or otherwise is made by the client.
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