NEW DELHI: The Bar Council of India (BCI) directed the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) on Tuesday to ensure withdrawal of strike by district court lawyers against the conviction of former Delhi High Court Bar Association President Rajiv Khosla in an assault case, saying that it is not a legal recourse available as per law.
A trial court on October 29 had convicted Khosla for assaulting a woman lawyer in 1994. The judge noted that her allegation of being pulled by hair and arm by Khosla and the threat that she will not be allowed to practice from Delhi's Tis Hazari Court was "absolutely truthful and creditworthy".
Against this backdrop, all the Coordination Committee members of All District Court Bar Associations of Delhi (ADCBA-D) unanimously resolved on complete abstinence of work in all the District Court on Tuesday.
In a meeting on Monday, the committee had resolved to observe a complete indefinite boycott of the court of the judicial officer in case the matter is not resolved after the meeting with the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court.
Opposing this, the BCI said the strike will not solve any problem and that lawyers are expected to do the needful not through agitation but by way of providing legal assistance to Khosla to file an appeal against the judgment and avail of all other legal remedies available under the law.
"Representations of any nature, as planned may be handed over. Any legal recourse may be availed too. However, there should not be interference in the judicial and court work," the BCI said in the letter addressed to the BCD President and Secretary.
"The Bar Council of India would like to bring to the notice of the State Bar Council of Delhi and to the concerned members of the legal fraternity, that this course of action being adopted is not the legal recourse available as per law," it added.
The BCI further stated that abstaining and resorting to strikes or trying to subvert the judicial machinery by pressurizing to change a judicial decision by way of abstaining from court work, by boycott of a judicial officer is not in any way the correct or legal course of action.
"Therefore, the State Bar Council of Delhi is directed and requested to forthwith direct and to ensure that the Coordination Committee of All District Court Bar Associations of Delhi immediately withdraw the call for complete abstinence from Judicial work by Lawyers in District Courts across the State on 09.11.2021, as also to issue directions to them to withdraw the call for carrying on indefinite boycott of a Judicial Officer," the council directed.
The council further emphasized that calling upon all members of the Bar to abstain from judicial work for one day and thereafter resolving to indefinitely boycott the judicial officer will not go down well with the litigant public, the common masses as well as the judiciary.
It will be seen as a sign of distress and pressure tactic being resorted to by the most powerful class of citizens in India, who help others in availing justice, the letter stated, adding that justice, judiciary, law, and lawyers will all be severely damaged by such an act.
"This will lead to literally break down of the mindset of the common man, who shall be constrained to feel, that if lawyers themselves have to resort to such methods to get things done, we shall also resort to the same," the letter undersigned by BCI Secretary Srimanto Sen stated.
The allegations against Khosla were that in July 1994, when he was the Secretary of Delhi Bar Association (DBA), he asked Kohli to join a seminar and on her refusal, threatened that all her facilities from the Bar Association would be withdrawn and she would be dispossessed of her seat as well.
Kohli had filed a civil suit on August 1, 1994, seeking injunction but despite that, her table and chair were removed from their spot. Just before the civil judge hearing her suit could inspect the spot, Khosla, along with a mob of 40-50 lawyers, allegedly surrounded her, she claimed.
According to her complaint, Khosla pulled her hair, dragged her, twisted her arms, uttered filthy abuses, and threatened her. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gajender Singh Nagar held Khosla guilty for offences punishable under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC.
The argument on sentencing will take place on November 15. Notably, complainant Sujata Kohli went on to become a judge in the Delhi judiciary and retired as a District and Sessions Judge last year.