CHENNAI: With the impact of lawyers striking work on the judicial process being one of the main threads running through the discourse during the inaugural session of the Lawyers’ Meet, 2015, held in Chennai on Saturday, the Bar Council of India (Council) said it was considering setting up panels at the district, State and national levels to deal with lawyers’ grievances to stem the increasing strikes.
Eminent persons from the legal fraternity, including the Union Minister for Law and Justice, D V Sadananda Gowda, eight sitting judges of the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Sanjay Kishan Kaul and others took up the issue of increasing strikes as a matter of concern.
Although the BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra laid the blame of frequent strikes on “nasty and irresponsible” elements, he added the BCI was addressing the issues that moved lawyers to go on strike — that of lawyer grievances not finding the ear of the authorities.
“Strikes are a problem not only in TN but in almost all the States — we easily decide to go on strike. Therefore the Council, in today’s meeting, has decided to form committees at the district, State and national levels. If at any time any problem arises for lawyers the problem should be referred to the committee. The district judge will head the district-level committee, the senior most judge of High Court at the State level will head the State-level committee and we request the Chief Justice of India to head a committee at the national level,” said Mishra.
Most Judges touched upon the effect strikes had on litigation. Kurien Joseph, Judge, Supreme Court said that despite at least three judgements from the SC directing lawyers not to strike work, strikes continue. “These strikes are like a slap on the litigant’s face. I was pained once when the BCI called for a strike. By striking we are doing a disservice to the people,” he said.
Meanwhile, M Y Eqbal, one of the sitting SC Judges, said the legal fraternity’s problems could not be solved without the cooperation of lawyers. “There cannot be access to justice to all if lawyers do not cooperate. The only negative aspect in Tamil Nadu is that lawyers strike before they put their demands before the Chief Justice and do not give him time to resolve it. They go on strike first and then make their demand,” he pointed out.