On Friday, the Supreme Court was informed by the Bar Council of India that they are putting forward rules to cut down on strikes by advocates and are taking action against bar associations who are encouraging strikes.
Before a bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud, BCI chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra submitted submissions to that effect.
The Court while dismissing an appeal filed by the Dehradun District Bar Association against a ruling by the Uttarakhand High Court declaring the lawyers strike unconstitutional.
On February 28, 2020, the Supreme Court took suo moto cognizance of the fact that lawyers/bar associations were going on strike despite the Court’s consistent decisions and issued notices to the Bar Council of India and all State Bar Councils to suggest a course of action and concrete suggestions to deal with the problem of strikes/abstaining the woes.
The BCI recently amended the rules in a substantial way.
The new modifications included two new sections to Chapter II of Part VI of the Bar Council of India Rules: Section V (‘Duties towards Society and Bar’) and Section V-A (‘Code of conduct and disqualification for members of Bar Councils’).
The amendments generated quite a stir because they allow for the suspension or cancellation of a lawyer’s licence to practise law if he or she makes any illegal statement about any court, judge, State Bar Council, or the BCI. It would also be considered as “misconduct”.
After challenges were filed in the Supreme Court, Kerala High Court, and Himachal Pradesh High Court opposing the amendments, the amended rules were put on hold.