A Seven-Judge Bench of the Allahabad High Court in a public interest litigation (PIL) relating to the strike by the Kanpur Bar Association has noted that the strike by the lawyers is creating hurdles in the dispensation of justice and hence directed them to resume their work.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Pritinker Diwaker, Justice Sunita Agarwal, Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani, Justice Manoj Kumar Gupta, Justice Anjani Kumar Mishra, Justice Kaushal Jayendra Thaker, and Justice Mahesh Chandra Tripathi observed, “In the present case, despite sincere efforts being made by this Court, the lawyers are adamant not to perform their work in the Court and their actions are creating hurdle in dispensation of justice, which is nothing but a sort of contempt of Courts.”

Advocates Ajay Singh and Anshu Singh appeared for the petitioner while Advocate A.K. Bajpai and CSC Ayub Khan appeared for the respondent.

Brief Facts -

Kanpur Bar Association and the Lawyers' Association, Kanpur Nagar were on a continuous strike, and initially, they were only boycotting the Court of District & Sessions Judge but later, they started boycotting the entire Courts of Kanpur Judgeship on March 25, 2023, hampering the entire judicial work. On the administrative side, the Chief Justice and the Administrative Judges of Kanpur held meetings separately as well as jointly with the President and the General Secretary of the Kanpur Bar Association and tried to resolve the issue.

In turn, the President and the General Secretary of the Kanpur Bar Association gave assurance to call off the strike and resume work, but then also the lawyers deviated from their assurance and were then threatening to spread the strike in the whole district of Kanpur in different modes. The Advocate General submitted before the Court that the strike cannot be supported in any manner and the lawyers are supposed to work in the Court.

The High Court while considering the submissions made by the Advocate General noted, “He has given assurance to this Court that all sorts of assistance would be provided to the lawyers and the Judges for dispensation of justice. In support of his submission, he has referred to the judgment of the Supreme Court in Ex. Capt. Harish Uppal vs. Union of India and another, AIR 2003 SC 739 and submits that the lawyers are supposed to perform their duties in the Court and, if any strict action is required to be taken, that will also be supported by the State.”

The Court in the above regard said that it feels appropriate to issue notices to the President and Secretary of the Kanpur Bar Association and Lawyers’ Association and therefore, directed that the said office bearers shall be personally present on April 7, 2023, at 10:00 a.m.

“As an interim measure, it is directed that the lawyers shall resume their work forthwith and to purge the contempt and in case, any hindrance is created by any of the lawyer or office bearers, the same would be viewed seriously. As assured by learned Advocate General, we expect the local administration to help in all sorts of manner”, further directed the Court.

The Court also directed that the District Magistrate and the Commissioner of Police, Kanpur Nagar shall affix the order on the notice board of both the Bar Associations and other conspicuous places inside the Court premises.

Cause Title- In Re Zila Adhivakta Sangh Allahabad

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