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Bar Council of India today called off its proposed nationwide protest from May 2 after Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad assured them that no law concerning lawyers will be made without consulting them. BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said the minister gave the assurance after he and a delegation of members of all bar associations, met him here this evening. The meeting came after the lawyers across the country protested 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 also burnt the copies of the Law Commission report which suggests bar on advocates from holding agitations and make them liable to compensate litigants if they go on strike. Mishra told PTI that the Law Minister also assured them that any amendments to the Advocates Act would be made after consulting BCI and other lawyers' bodies. He said that on the basis of the assurance given by the minister, the BCI and other lawyers bodies have decided to call off the protest they were planning to hold from May 2. BCI, in a statement, earlier had said that on May 2 they would hold a rally where 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. It had also decided to initiate a 'jail bharo' campaign in case their demands for rejection of the Law Commission 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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