The Bar Council of India (BCI) on February 6, 2019, has announced a nationwide lawyers' agitation on February 12, 2019, over inaction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not doing anything for legal fraternity and its deaf ear to the letter of BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra dated January 22, 2019.
The press release was made following a Joint meeting of the BCI with State Bar Council representatives held on the morning of February 2, 2019.
The meeting unanimously decided to call for nationwide lawyers' agitation and in pursuant to it the participants in the meeting havedecided to give a call to the Lawyers of the country to come on roads in order to protect their rights and privileges.
The release signed by BCI Chairman also warned the Government against taking steps to throttle democratic institutions while condemning steps taken to dismantle institutions such as the MCI. Inter alia, it also makes mention of grave concern being expressed over the frequent criticism of judiciary and judges by “some Lawyers and few other people with vested interest”.
It then states that the press conference has been scheduled to share the agenda regarding the same with the press, as well as the resolutions of the joint meeting of the BCI, High Court Bar Associations and Coordination Committees of Delhi and NCR Bar Associations.
The meeting unanimously resolved to launch the agitation to press the following demands:-
- All the Bar Associations of the country should have, chamber, adequate building/accommodation/sitting facilities with well-equipped libraries, e-libraries with internet facilities, toilet etc. and separate sitting & toilet facilities for lady adequate.
- Budgetary allocation of Rs 5000 crores for lawyers and litigants’ welfare in Annual Budget of Union in order to implement the following requirements:-
- Insurance cover for lawyers and their families (dependants).
- Stipend for needy new entrants at the Bar up to 5 years of their practice (minimum Rs 10,000 per month).
- Financial protection to lawyers and their dependents in case of untimely death or incapacitation by reason of disease, accident, etc.
3. The Government should frame schemes to acquire land at cheaper rates for Housing for Advocates (on the pattern of the Haryana Government).
4. Legal Services Authority Act – amendments and necessary changes should be made in the Act so that the functions under this Act could be discharged by the Lawyers (and not the Judges or Judicial Officers only).
5. All the Acts (which provide for appointments of retired Judges/Judicial Officers as the presiding Officers/Member of different Tribunals, Commissions or Forums/Authorities) should be properly amended so that competent Advocates (and not only the Judges) could also be appointed on these places.
In order to raise awareness amongst the legal fraternity with respect to the demands raised, the BCI release also informs that every Bar Association of the country will hold a General Body Meeting on February 11, 2019. In the meeting, the Bar Associations will pass their resolutions addressing the PMO. These resolutions will be handed over to the local collector with copies to the Member of Parliament, District Judges, State Bar Councils and the BCI. A rally is also to be conducted on the said date between 1 and 2 pm to the Collectorate by the members of the Bar.
The Nationwide Rally will be organized on February 12, 2019, at the respective state headquarters at 12.30 pm. In the Rally maximum members of the Bar Associations of the State High Court, Bar Associations would assemble together at State Headquarter and stage a demonstration from the premises of High Courts to the respective Governor Houses. The Lawyers will be in their full dress at the time of the Rally which will be conducted in a peaceful and decent manner.
The release further informs that for Delhi, NCR Region and Punjab and Haryana the members are to assemble at Patiala House Court to stage a protest to Jantar Mantar.