Rajasthan became the first State in the Country to pass a law for protection of Advocates. The Rajasthan State Legislature passed the Rajasthan Advocate Protection Bill, 2023 after it was tabled in the assembly last week, by voice-vote.

The Bill aims to provide for the prevention of the offences of assault, grievous hurt, criminal force and criminal intimidation against the advocates and damage or loss to the property of advocates.

Section 3 of the Bill provides that if an act of assault, grievous hurt, criminal force and criminal intimidation was done in connection with the discharge of duties of the advocate in court premises, would be deemed as an offence.

Section 4 of the Bill also provides for police protection to an advocate who complained to the police about an act mentioned in Section 3.

Section 5 of the Bill prescribes punishment for the offences under the Act. In case of grievous hurt to an advocate, maximum imprisonment of seven years and a fine of Rs. 50,000/-. Whereas in case of an assault, the maximum punishment will be imprisonment for two years and a fine of Rs. 25,000/-. Further in case of criminal intimidation and force, a maximum punishment of two years has been provided.

In addition to the punishment, the offender in appropriate cases, under Section 10 would be liable to pay damages for loss or damage caused to the property of an advocate and even would be liable to reimburse the medical expenses incurred by such advocate. Such damages and reimbursement would be determined by the court itself.

Under Sections 6 and 7 all the offences have been made cognizable, as well as compoundable.

Further, Section 9 provides that, if a report of cognizable offence is received against an advocate, from a client or opposite client, during discharge of his duties, the report will be registered only after an inquiry by the police officer not below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police is made.

Advocates in the State had been protesting for the past 1 month, in light of the murder of a lawyer in the State in broad daylight and was seeking enactment of the Advocate protection Act.