As we all are aware of this fact that advocates help the public to present their case before the court so that they get fast and easy justice. Lawyers are foot soldiers of the court because they are the persons who approach the judiciary as the representative of the litigant. In the milieu of sorrow, the lawyers act as a silver lining in the dark cloud. An advocate plays an important role in creating a safer world by providing every person easy access to justice. They are the representatives who help the people bring their issues in front of the judicial system. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. They are the persons to help people know their rights as well as duties. But nowadays many cases are being seen where advocates are being assaulted and abused. As there is a sudden increase in assault, abuse, illegal detentions, intimidation, kidnapping, and threats against advocates. These things raise concerns related to the safety of the advocates. Looking at all these cases, the honourable BAR COUNCIL OF INDIA on 10 June 2021 issued a notice to a 7-member committee to draft the ADVOCATES PROTECTION BILL. The bill was issued on 02 July 2021. The bill aimed to protect advocates so that they can perform their duties and responsibilities well.
IMPORTANT FEATURES OF THE BILL
(A) This bill extends to the whole of India and there are 14 sections in this bill.
(B) All the points given below were kept under the ambit of crime and are considered an act of violence under section 2 of the bill:
- Threatening the lawyers and their family members with any kind of harm and injury.
- forcing them to reveal any information forcibly.
- Getting pressure from the police or any other official.
- Stopping the lawyers from pleading in any case.
- Damage to the property of a lawyer.
- Using derogatory words against a lawyer.
(C) According to section 5 of the bill all these offences will be nonbailable offences and cognizable and for such offences, there is a provision of imprisonment of 6 months to 5 years as well as fine of Rs 1,00,000. For these crimes police officers (not below the rank of superintendent of police) will have to complete the investigation within 30 days which will be heard by the District and Session Judge/ Additional and Session Judge.
(D) Section 11 of the act provides that a police officer can’t arrest an advocate or investigate the case against an advocate without the order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate and it also states that If any person gives any information to the police officer that an advocate has committed this offence, after that police officer will enter the information in the book kept by him and shall refer all the connected material of that information to the nearest Chief Judicial Magistrate, thereafter the Chief Judicial Magistrate will conduct a preliminary inquiry of the advocate and issue notice to the advocate and give the opportunity of hearing to him or his representative
(E) If the court finds that suit or other legal proceeding initiated by any person against an advocate is vexatious in or motivated by malicious intent, then that suit shall be dismissed and that person shall be liable to pay compensation which is not less than 1,00,000 Rs.
REQUIREMENT FOR THE BILL
The Main object of the bill is to be the protection of advocates and removal of obstructions in the performance of their duties. As there is a sudden increase in assault, abuse, intimation, kidnapping, and threats against advocates, as advocates are considered as the officers of the court so welfare benefits and necessities of life should also be provided to the advocates.
Panaji: Porvorim police on Friday registered an FIR against 6 persons including head constable Sandeep parab and 3 unknown persons for allegedly assaulting advocate Gajanan Sawant on 10th Dec 2022.A cyclist was arrested a few days ago on the Pune-Bengaluru highway for assaulting a 41-year-old corporate lawyer. A mob of roughly 20 individuals savagely attacked 2 lawyers who were meeting with their clients with swords. So, all of these incidents are shocking and create fear in the minds of advocates and making them unable to perform their jobs properly, that is why the Bar Council of India decided to introduce this bill.
In conclusion, the advocate protection bill 2021 can be very beneficial for the safety of the advocates. The Bar Council of India has made this bill keeping in mind all the problems faced by the advocates. As this bill elaborates on the recent incidents of assault, criminal force, threats, and harassment, targeted at advocates when they are discharging their professional responsibilities. Such incidents create fear in the mind of advocates and their families. This bill also prevents advocates from illegal arrest and detention and malicious prosecution. Many safeguards have been given in this bill in the interest of the advocates.
As an advocate, we need this bill to be converted into action immediately. the Bar Council of India will have to take necessary steps as soon as possible to get this bill passed in the Parliament. As the cases of assault with advocates are increasing day by day, which is alarming and this bill is the need of the hour, therefore no laxity can be afforded during its launch and implementation because the number of assault cases against the advocates is increasing and beat the clock before it’s too late. On that basis this suggestion should also be considered:
Provisions relating to non-payment of fees to the advocates by the clients should be added, as the client pays fees to the lawyer for his professional service, but not for winning or losing the suit. It is often seen that once an advocate has taken the time to complete and deliver his professional services, then the clients start making excuse for delay in payment, the worst part of this sad truth is that sometimes client refuses to pay for the services once all the work is done. It seems downright disheartening that even when a lawyer works hard to get justice for his client, he does not get his fees. Therefore, this point should also be considered in Advocate protection bill 2021.
Author(s) Name: Anmol Chalana (University Law College, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur)