Lawyers across the country today abstained from judicial work post lunch protesting the Law Commission's report suggesting various amendments to the Advocates Act, the Bar Council said.
Bar Council of India (BCI) chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said the lawyers also burnt the copies of the Law Commission report which suggests bar on advocates from holding agitation and make them liable to compensate litigants if they go on strike.
The lawyers are protesting against the Advocates (Amendment) Bill, 2017 that lays down the definition of "misconduct" which according to the BCI has only been defined in its rules.
"The lawyers of the country burned the copies of the report of the Law Commission of India which had suggested for draconian amendment in the Advocates Act, 1961," BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said.
The BCI had yesterday termed the amendment as "utterly regressive" and said its right place was "not Parliament but the dustbin."
Mishra had also expressed hope that the lawyers would not be compelled to take any extreme step and the Centre will resolve the deadlock soon.
"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 had 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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