New Delhi, April 20: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that no member of the Bar can go on strike or abstain from court work and asked all the high courts to constitute a grievance redressal committee headed by the Chief Justice and other stakeholders to avoid lawyers’ frequent strikes.
A bench of Justices M.R. Shah and Ahsanuddin Amanullah said: “We once again reiterate that no member of the Bar can go on strike and/or abstain himself from court working. Time and again, this court has emphasised and criticised the advocates going on strike and abstaining them from work.”
The bench said that if the member of the Bar has any genuine grievance or the difficulty being faced because of the procedural changes in filing/listing of the matters and/or any genuine grievance pertaining to misbehave of any member of the lower judiciary, they can very well make a representation. It said it is appropriate that their genuine grievances are considered by some forum so that such strikes can be avoided and members of the Bar who might have genuine grievances like above may ventilate their grievances.
“Therefore, we request all the High Courts to constitute Grievance Redressal Committee in their respective High Courts which may be headed by the Chief Justice and such a grievance redressal committee be consisting of two other senior Judges, one each from service and one from the Bar to be nominated by the Chief Justice as well as the Advocate General, Chairman of the Bar Council of the State and President of the High Court Bar Association,” it said.
The bench said the high court may also consider to constitute the similar grievance redressal committee at the district court level.
“It is observed that the Grievance Redressal Committee may consider the genuine grievance related to the difference of opinion or dissatisfaction because of procedural changes in filing/listing of the matters of the respective High Courts or any District Courts in their respective states and any genuine grievance pertaining to misbehave of any member of the lower judiciary, provided such grievance must be genuine and not to keep the pressure on any judicial officer,” it said.
The top court delivered the judgment on an application filed by the Bar Council of India (BCI). Senior advocate and BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra contended that the council has suggested various measures for controlling the strike/abstention and has suggested the mechanism of redressal of the grievances of advocates/Bar associations at all levels.
He submitted that the BCI is of the firm view and opinion that the illegal and unreasonable strikes and boycott are always bad and the Bar councils can never approve or encourage such practices.
“It is submitted that however, in a meeting of Chairmen/Office Bearers of all the State Bar Councils held, the Bar Council of India and all the representatives of the lawyers were of the unanimous opinion that there should be a grievance redressal mechanism available to Advocates at all levels from the Talukas/Muffasils/District Courts, High Courts where the members of the Bar could vent their grievances,” noted the top court.