Supreme Court: The bench of MR Shah* and Ahsanuddin Amanullah, JJ has reiterated that no member of the Bar can go on strike and/or abstain himself from court working and has hence, requested all the High Courts to constitute Grievance Redressal Committee in their respective High Courts.
Criticising the practice of the advocates going on strike and abstaining them from work, the Court observed that if the member of the Bar has any genuine grievance or the difficulty being faced because of the procedural changes in filing/listing of the matters and/or any genuine grievance pertaining to misbehaviour of any member of the lower judiciary they can very well make a representation and it is appropriate that their genuine grievances are considered by some forum so that such strikes can be avoided and members of the Bar who might have genuine grievances like above may ventilate their grievances.
The Court also suggested that the Grievance Redressal Committee, as constituted by the High Courts, may be headed by the Chief Justice and such a grievance redressal committee be consisting of two other senior Judges, one each from service and one from the Bar to be nominated by the Chief Justice as well as the Advocate General, Chairman of the Bar Council of the State and President of the High Court Bar Association. A similar Grievance Redressal Committee may also be constituted at the District Court level.
These Grievance Redressal Committees may consider the genuine grievance related to the difference of opinion or dissatisfaction because of procedural changes in filing/listing of the matters of the respective High Courts or any District Courts in their respective States and any genuine grievance pertaining to misbehave of any member of the lower judiciary, provided such grievance must be genuine and not to keep the pressure on any judicial officer.
The order came after the Chairman of the Bar Council of India submitted before the Court that the BCI does not approve the illegal and unreasonable strikes and boycott and that in order to check and control the frequent strikes, boycotts, it has suggested the mechanism of redressal of the grievances of Advocates/Bar Associations at all levels.
In a meeting of Chairmen/Office Bearers of all the State Bar Councils, the Bar Council of India and all the representatives of the lawyers were of the unanimous opinion that there should be a grievance redressal mechanism available to Advocates at all levels from the Talukas/Muffasils/District Courts, High Courts where the members of the Bar could vent their grievances.
This consensus was reached after noticing that many a times, members of the Bar might have very genuine grievances and due to non-resolving of such genuine grievance, the members of the Bar go on strike. Hence, if the genuine grievance of the members of the Bar like any dissatisfaction because of the procedural changes in filing or listing of the matters in High Courts or District Courts in the respective States or any grievance pertaining to misbehave of any member of the lower judiciary or any other serious grievance against judicial officers can be ventilated before the Grievance Redressal Committees so that the members of the Bar who are also part of the justice delivery system may feel that their genuine grievances are heard and ventilated by some forum.
[District Bar Association Dehradun v. Ishwar Shandilya, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 457, decided on 20-04-2023]
*Judgment authored by Justice MR Shah
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For BCI: Mr Manan Kumar Mishra, Senior Advocate and Chairman of the Bar Council of India