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Shift protest from court gates: HC tells striking lawyers | cities

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday categorically told lawyers on strike against the Haryana’s move to set up an administrative tribunal to shift the protest to some other place from its entry gates.

The high court full bench presided over by chief justice Krishna Murari, which took note of complaints by litigants on Tuesday, verbally told the representatives of Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association (PHHCBA) that failing this, the court would be forced to ask the Chandigarh administration to remove the protesters.

The court also verbally dared the lawyers to take their protest to the secretariat, the seat of the government.

During the hearing, UT adviser Manoj Kumar Parida, home secretary Arun Kumar Gupta and director general of police Sanjay Baniwal were present in court. They have been called again on Friday morning as the Bar told the judges that its executive committee will ponder over the issue and apprise the court of its decision by 11am.

Post the hearing, the Bar called a General House meeting at 10am on Friday.

The lawyers started their strike on July 25, a day after the Centre notified the tribunal. Around two weeks back, they stopped allowing litigants to enter the court premises, following which the HC took a judicial note on Tuesday and called top three UT officials and put the Bar body on notice.

The protest took ugly turn at many occasions as incidents of misbehaviour by lawyers were reported. Now, lawyers too are divided on various issues. A section of lawyers has started a signature campaign and with 300-odd on board has asked the Bar executive to call off the strike or they would resume work from Friday. Another section wants the strike to continue till the time the tribunal is scrapped. Another group wants to resume work in the wake of the constitution of a committee by the Haryana government.

The full bench during the hearing observed that the HC had already taken note of the strike and ordered deferring of the tribunal. It noted even the Haryana government constituted a committee to look into the legality and workability of the tribunal, which effectively meant that till the time the report comes, it won’t become operational.

Earlier, Bar president DPS Randhawa informed the court that they are not stopping the litigants from entering the premises now.  However, the court was not satisfied with their contentions, orally observing that it was not questioning their right to protest, but the manner of protest was an “issue” and litigants can’t be stopped from entering the courts and  protest can’t be held outside the gates of the high court.

The court also took serious note of the public address system being used at the protest site and asked whether it did not amount to interfering with administration of justice.

What cout said

You have to give speeches, go to Bar room. .. This is not the place to protest.  

You are seizing your own workplace. Have you seen a shopkeeper sealing his shop in protest?

Show this (strength) to the government (indicating towards Haryana secretariat). It’s a challenge… do it. You will get to know.  

Someday services of a lawyer will come under the Consumer Act

First Published: Aug 14, 2019 22:49 IST

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