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Will take action against striking lawyers, says High Court

The Bombay high court has warned lawyers against going on strike or indulging in any misconduct which disturbs the administration of justice, saying it would take suitable action against them under Contempt of Court Act.

The Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa, with whom the advocates are registered, are also free to take action against such lawyers, a bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah said. Contempt action would be taken against individual lawyers or those resorting to misconduct in groups, said the bench in an order issued three days ago.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by advocate Manoj Laxman Shirsatthe, contending that the strike observed on calls given by the District Bar Associations on August 29, 2013 and by the Bar Council of India on March 11, 2013 for a countrywide protest on varying issues, were illegal. “The law with reference to the advocates going on strike is now well settled. It is the duty of every advocate who has accepted a brief to attend trial even though it may go on day-to-day and for a prolonged period. He cannot refuse to attend court merely because a boycott call and/or to go on strike is given by the Bar Association,” the bench observed.

“It is unprofessional as well as unbecoming for a advocate to refuse to attend court even in pursuance of a call for strike or a boycott by the Bar Association or the Bar Council. These views have also been endorsed by the Supreme Court,” the Judges remarked.

The petitioner prayed for a direction to the Bar Council of India and Bar council of Maharashtra and Goa not to pass any resolution giving a call for strike in future.

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