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No Bar Association Can Pressurize Chief Justice To Change Roster Of A Judge: Supreme Court

Shruti Kakkar
25 Oct 2021 9:53 AM GMT
No Bar Association Can Pressurize Chief Justice To Change Roster Of A Judge: Supreme Court
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Taking strong objection to the boycott call made by Jaipur Bar Association, the Supreme Court on Monday observed that the Bar Association and Advocates cannot pressurize a Chief Justice to change the roster of a judge. The Court categorically said "we will not tolerate attempts of associations to pressurize judges". The bench of Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna was hearing its...

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Taking strong objection to the boycott call made by Jaipur Bar Association, the Supreme Court on Monday observed that the Bar Association and Advocates cannot pressurize a Chief Justice to change the roster of a judge.

The Court categorically said "we will not tolerate attempts of associations to pressurize judges".

The bench of Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna was hearing its petition in which it had issued contempt notice to the office bearers of the Bar Association of the Rajasthan High Court Jaipur Bench for boycotting a single bench of the High Court as a part of the strike.

The bench also asked the Registrar General of the High Court of Rajasthan at Jaipur to submit a report pointing out exactly what happened on September 27, 2021 along with resolution of the Bar Association abstaining work on September 27, 2021.

"Dr Abhinav Sharma represents the present Bar Association and is seeking time to file a reply to point out true facts as to what happened on September 27, 2021. Put up on November 16, 2021. In the meantime we request the Registrar General of the High Court of Rajasthan at Jaipur to submit a report pointing out exactly what happened on September 27, 2021 along with resolution of the Bar Association abstaining work on September 27, 2021. Report shall be sent on or before November 12," Supreme Court in their order noted.

When the matter was called for hearing, Dr Abhinav Sharma appearing for the Jaipur High Court Bar Association submitted that there was no strike on September 27, 2021 but there was some disagreement between the sitting judge and the lawyers due to his refusal to give an urgent listing to a petition seeking protection for a lawyer.

"There was no strike on that day. In fact there was an attack on an advocate and threat to his life. An application was made to the single judge to list their application to which the judge didn't agree and there was some disagreement. The matter was then taken up by the Chief Justice," Dr Sharma submitted. The counsel added that the events were misreported by the media.

Justice MR Shah, presiding judge of the bench orally remarked, "How can advocates request for changing roster of Learned Single Judge. No Bar association can pressurize the Chief Justice to change the roster. Chief Justice is the master of roster."

Bench at this juncture also expressed its inclination for issuance of directions to the Registrar of the Rajasthan High Court to submit a report pointing out what exactly happened on September 27, 2021.

"Mr.counsel, you make sure that the advocates and bar association cannot compel for changing the roster. It is none of your business to tell the Chief Justice to change the roster," Justice Shah further added.


While the counsel for the Jaipur High Court Bar Association sought time to file reply to point out true facts as to what happened, Justice Shah remarked,

"This is nothing but coming in the administration of justice and pressurizing the judge."

Before adjourning the matter for November 16, 2021 Justice Shah also asked Manan Kumar Mishra, Chairman of the Bar Council of India to ensure that nothing of this sort happens in future.

"Mr Mishra, please take note that nothing of that sort happens. Bar Association cannot force for changing the roster and pressuring the judge," Justice Shah said.

The issue relates to the Jaipur Bar Association's boycott of the court of Justice Satish Kumar Sharma. The resolution for the boycott was passed after the judge reportedly refused to give an urgent listing to a petition seeking protection for a lawyer. The association demanded that the roster be changed to remove criminal matters from the bench of Justice Sharma.

Supreme Court's Contempt Notice

The Supreme Court issued the show-cause notice for contempt to the Jaipur Bar Association in the case District Bar Association,Dehradun through its Secretary vs Ishwar Shandilya & Ors, in which it has taken suo motu cognizance of the trend of lawyers strikes. The bench had earlier sought the assistance of the Bar Council of India to address the issue.

The Bar Council of India later told the bench that after a meeting with the State Bar Councils, it is proposing to frame rules to curtail strikes by lawyers and court boycotts and to take action against bar associations who act in breach and against advocates who promote such strikes through social media.

On a subsequent hearing date, the bench said that it will pass a "detailed order" to deal with this issue. The bench also observed that it is considering setting up grievance redressal mechanism at local levels for lawyers so that their legitimate grievances can be addressed through a proper platform instead of resorting to strikes.

On February 28, 2020, the Supreme Court, taking a serious note of the fact that despite consistent decisions of the Court, the lawyers/Bar Associations go on strikes, had taken suo moto cognisance and issued notices to the Bar Council of India and all the State Bar Councils to suggest the further course of action and to give concrete suggestions to deal with the problem of strikes/abstaining the work by the lawyers.

The suo motu action of the Court came while dismissing an appeal filed by the District Bar Association Dehradun against a judgment of the Uttarakhand High Court which declared the lawyers strikes illegal.

Case Title: District Bar Association v Ishwar Shandilya and Ors | MA 859/2020 in SLP(C) 5440/2020

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