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Supreme Court criticizes Rajasthan HC Bar Association in Jaipur for failing to file response to court boycott contempt notice

the Supreme Court Tuesday observed with dismay that the members of the office of the High Court Bar Association of Rajasthan in Jaipur failed to take seriously the contempt notice given to them for boycotting a High Court bench amid a strike. On October 5, 2021, the Court had issued an opinion and ordered the President, Secretary and members of the office of the Bar Association of the High Court of Rajasthan in Jaipur to justify why contempt proceedings could not be initiated against them.

In a subsequent hearing, the Supreme Court observed that no bar association could pressure the Chief Justice to change a judge’s list.

The issue concerns the boycott by the Jaipur Bar Association of the Court of Judge Satish Kumar Sharma. The boycott resolution was passed after the judge reportedly refused to give an urgent list to a petition seeking protection from an attorney. The association demanded that the list be amended to remove the criminal cases from Judge Sharma’s bench.

A bench comprising Judges Mr. Shah and Sanjiv Khanna noted on Tuesday that it is regrettable that no counter-affidavits to date have been filed by members of the Bar Association office who are in contempt.

Despite the fact that the members of the Board of the Bar Association, who are accused of contempt, have been served a long time ago and that the matter has also been adjourned to their trial, it is very regrettable that none against has not been filed to date.“, observed the Court.

Further finding that the members of the bureau failed to give due credit to the contempt notice, the bench noted,

There is no written response from the Office Bearers of the Bar Association. It appears prima facie that the Bar Association did not take the matter very seriously.”

However, the bench provided ‘a last chance‘ wandering bureau members to submit their response and have therefore scheduled the case for a rehearing tomorrow i.e. the November 17.

The bench has also taken note of a detailed report submitted by the Registrar General of the High Court of Rajasthan, Jodhpur Bench, in accordance with the Court’s earlier order. Following a reading of the report, the House noted that the content of the report is ‘shocking’.

Content of Registrar General’s Report

The report states that on September 27, 2021, a petition for penal order was filed in the High Court of Rajasthan, Jaipur Bench, by Shri Ravindra Kumar Paliwal, Advocate through his attorney Amit Jindal Advocate, who was related to a alleged dispute of Shri Paliwal with his neighbour. Subsequently, on behalf of the petitioner, an oral request was made to the Satish Kumar Sharma Court of Justice to enter this case on the same day i.e. 27 September 2021. On such request, the judge ordered that the case be heard as a first case on September 28, 2021, but the lawyer concerned continued to insist strongly that the case be listed on the same day and other lawyers also joined in this request and started protesting with slogans.

On September 27, 2021, the Chief Justice of the High Court of Rajasthan was on leave. The High Court administration brought this matter to the attention of the Chief Justice after which the matter was referred to another High Court judge and the case was resumed on the same day and an order was issued. also been rendered. Although the case was resumed on the same day and the order was also passed, the Bar Association of the High Court of Rajasthan passed a resolution on the evening of September 27, 2021 to boycott the Satish Court Kumar Sharma until his roster is not changed.

To resolve the above impasse, a meeting of the Chief Justice and all the Jaipur Bench Judges was held on 28 September 2021 at 10.30 a.m. After discussing the matter, members of the High Court Bar Association Bureau were invited to the meeting at 11.30am. The meeting with the members of the Bar Association continued until 12:30 p.m. During this meeting, the High Court Bar Association called for a committee of judges to be set up to discuss the matter. On this request, the officers of the Association have been asked to withdraw the boycott resolution and their request will then be considered.

Therefore, the officers of the Association have requested 15 minutes of time. Until 1:00 p.m. when the bureau members failed to show up, the matter was again discussed by the Chief Judge and other judges over lunch and a committee of 6 judges was formed to discuss the matter with the High Court Bar Association to resolve the issue. After the conclusion of the meeting, all courts went into after-lunch session from 2 p.m. and the hearing of all cases proceeded as usual.

Court of Justice Satish Kumar Sharma also sat after lunch, but members of the Bar Association office and other lawyers gathered there and asked their fellow lawyers to come out of the courtroom. hearing. After receiving the information that the lawyers are shouting slogans outside the courtroom of Judge Satish Kumar Sharma, the Registrar (Administration) immediately went to the courtroom and found that the lawyers had closed the door to the courtroom and weren’t allowing anyone in. to enter the courtroom. The clerk then entered the court and discovered that Judge Satish Kumar Sharma was sitting in the courtroom but no lawyer was present. All courts, except the Satish Kumar Sharma Court of Justice, functioned normally that day.

The report also pointed out that some media outlets incorrectly reported that other courtrooms were not working or had stopped working due to this issue. The Rajasthan High Court Administration had also issued a press notice in this regard.

The above 6-judge committee meeting with members of the bar office was convened on September 29, 2021 at 09:00 a.m. and ended on a positive note and subsequently the bar association withdrew its earlier boycott resolution from Satish Court of Justice. Kumar Sharma.

In a related development, the central government today notified the transfer of Justice Satish Kumar Sharma to the High Court of Madhya Pradesh in line with a recommendation from the Supreme Court panel made in October.

Supreme Court contempt notice

The Supreme Court has issued the notice of show cause for contempt against the Jaipur Bar Association in the case District Bar Association, Dehradun through its secretary against Ishwar Shandilya & Ors, in which he learned suo motu of the trend of lawyers’ strikes. The bench had previously sought help from the Bar Council of India to resolve the issue.

The Indian Bar Council later told the judiciary that after a meeting with the State Bar Councils, it was proposing to draw up rules to limit lawyers’ strikes and court boycotts and to take action against bar associations that act in violation and against lawyers who promote such strikes via social media.

At a later hearing date, the bench said it would adopt a “detailed order” to address this issue. The bench also observed that it is considering establishing a local level grievance redress mechanism for lawyers so that their legitimate grievances can be addressed through an appropriate platform instead of resorting to strikes. .

On February 28, 2020, the Supreme Court, taking note of the fact that despite consistent decisions by the Court, lawyers/bar associations are going on strike, had taken OUA motorcycle awareness and sent notices to the Bar Council of India and all State Bar Councils to suggest the way forward and make concrete suggestions to deal with the issue of strikes/abstaining from work by lawyers.

the suo motu The court action came in dismissing an appeal by the Dehradun District Bar Association against a Uttarakhand High Court judgment that declared the lawyers’ strikes illegal.

Case Title: District Bar Association Dehradun v. Ishwar Shandilya and Ors

Click here to read/download the order