By LE Desk

Chandigarh, May 12: The Bar Council of India (BCI) has refused to grant a stay against the order passed by the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana (BCPH), wherein it had stayed a resolution by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association (HCBA) to boycott the Court of Chief Justice of the state’s High Court.

The revision petition against the BCPH chairman Minderjit Yadav’s stay order was filed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association before the Bar Council of India, The Indian Express reported.

The BCI in its order said, “The council appreciates the problems and the difficulties that the lawyers of the entire country are facing during this pandemic. The problems raised by the High Court Bar Association, Punjab and Haryana High Court are not only confined to High Court of Punjab and Haryana Bar, but except one or two places, the entire legal fraternity. The fraternity is witnessing the darkest days of their professional lives.”

“There is a serious risk of life if a lawyer starts discharging his professional duties and appearing in court physically. Even in the hearings through video conferencing, there are chances of getting infected as an advocate cannot run his office without the assistance of the staff. The petitioner — High Court Bar Association — has rightly said that if a lawyer shuts down his office completely, he or his family will die of starvation. The harsh truth is that today, barring a few blessed advocates, the entire legal fraternity is facing the same situation,” read the BCI order.

The BCI, therefore, admitting the revision petition for final hearing, issued notice to the BCPH for May 14 as the date for final hearing.

The BCI added, “However, under the facts and circumstances of the case, the council does not find any prima facie case for grant of any stay of the order dated May 7 passed by the Chairman, Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana. Neither the Bar Council of India nor the State Bar Council can support any resolution of any Bar Association giving call for the boycott of the Court of Chief Justice or any Judge of any Court on such ground. It can be done only in rarest of the rare cases, when there is no other remedy left to the lawyers’ bodies.”

The BCI, thus, said “The demand of transfer of the Chief Justice prima-facie does not seem to be proper and justified, nor is going to solve the problem. Such politics should not be allowed to be played in any Bar Association.”

The BCI thus to resolve the matter constituted a committee of seven member panel, who will meet the Chief Justice, High Court of Punjab and Haryana, and to get the matter settled amicably.

The BCI also requested the Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court, to hear the Committee, listen to their grievances and redress it as far as feasible. It was also told by the BCI to the committee that it shall try to fix a meeting with the Chief Justice on or before May 13, 2021, so that the opinion/suggestions of the committee could be placed on record and considered on May 14.

Meanwhile, Minderjit Yadav, Chairman, BCPH said, “BCI is our apex body and we should obey the orders passed by it. The rift between Bar and Bench shall be resolved immediately taking into consideration the larger interest of the legal fraternity”, The Indian Express said.

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