On Saturday( 26.12.2020) the Bar Council of India released a press note wherein it condemned the incident that took place in Etah, Uttar Pradesh a few days back.
In the said incident, the Police had broken open the door of an advocate’s house ( who was dressed as an Advocate ) and assaulted him brutally. The video of the incident went viral as well.
BCI stated that the UP police had crossed the limit this time and there is no end to such atrocities that are committed regularly by the UP Police.
The press release further reads that similar incidents have also occurred in Bihar, Bengal and other States. Such actions taken by the Police are worse than the crimes committed by hardened criminals.
BCI also asserted that the Etah Police’s actions were preplanned and committed with an ulterior motive.
The BCI requested the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India and Hon’ble Chief Justice of Allahabad to take strict against the erring police personnel based on the video that went viral. The release further reads that the UP government turned down a request regarding the same issue.
The Bar Council of India stated that the Indian Bar cannot tolerate such atrocities anymore and if strict action is not taken in the case, and if new laws for lawyers’ protection are not made, they will take to the streets. It was also stated that the BCI would write a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah and request him to take suitable action in the case.
According to the Press Release, the Bar Council will convene a joint meeting of all State Bar Councils and decide the future course of action within 3-4 days.
In the Press Release, a reference was also made to inaction taken by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in petition wherein the BCI had requested interest-free or soft rated loans for lawyers who were immensely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Virtual Hearings
BCI expressed grave concern on the government’s intention to do away with physical hearings and adopt Virtual Hearings of Court. The BCI stated that advocates of the country could never accept such a model, and if the plan is implemented, it will only benefit “big law firms” and some “blessed lawyers”. The release urges the government to resume physical hearings across the country without any delay.
On Foreign Law Firms and Lawyers
The Council made it clear that unless Indian Lawyers are allowed to practice law in countries like USA, Australia, UK and other European countries, they will not allow Foreign Lawyers and Law Firms to practice in India. The Press Release also stated that the Indian lawyer fraternity had unanimously turned down similar government proposals in the past.
If some foreign law firms are allowed to practice in India, then the Firm’s practice scope should be curtailed to protect lawyers who practice in areas like Criminal Civil and other laws.
It was further stated that lawyers from irrelevant countries are applying for practice licences in India. Still, Indian Law Firms and Lawyers are not allowed to practice in those countries. If an end is not to this practice, several foreign lawyers will start practising in India while the Indian Lawyers will be left to fend for themselves.
Lastly, the Press Release stated that the BCI would call a joint meeting of all State Bar Councils and High Court Bar Associations to consider the aforesaid issues in the coming week.