'Resume work by Nov 16': SC warns striking Odisha lawyers of contempt
The Supreme Court on Monday warned it could initiate contempt proceedings or suspend licences of the striking members of the bar associations in several districts of Odisha, as it asked them to resume work by November 16.
A bench, headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, said it expects full working by all bar associations by Wednesday, and if they fail, then it might result in contempt of court and also suspension or cancellation of licences. The bench emphasised that access to justice is the foundation of the legal system, expressing discontent with the striking members of the bar associations, adding that the court would come down very heavily if the abstention from work continues.
When lawyers abstain from court proceedings, then access to justice is the casualty and the people suffer, it said.
The top court was hearing an application filed by the Registrar General of the Orissa High Court saying the bar associations' strike, in several districts, has seriously hampered the judicial work in all the subordinate courts.
The reasons for abstention include establishment of permanent bench of the Orissa High Court (in Samabalpur), demise of advocates, demanding establishment of court, Bharat Bandh, flood, scorching heat among others.
The bench said the top court in February 2020 had passed an order and an undertaking was given before it that all the district bar associations in Odisha would resume work on that day itself.
The Bar Council of India Chairman, in an order on November 13, had said if the strike/boycott is not recalled by the next day, the license of practice of individual lawyers participating in this boycott/abstention shall be put under suspension with immediate effecta. The apex court was informed about this order of the BCI.
The bench said it expects full working by all the bar associations by November 16, failing which the Bar Council of India may proceed with action against the office bearers. The top court has scheduled the matter for further hearing later this month. - IANS
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