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BCI, BC Delhi members face contempt petition over strike tomorrow

BCI: Two strikes and out?
BCI: Two strikes and out?
Exclusive: Advocate Anoop Prakash Awasthi’s contempt of court petition against several senior members of the Bar Council of India (BCI) and the Delhi bar council will be heard tomorrow by the Delhi high court’s chief justice.

Awasthi claims that the BCI’s nationwide two-day strike against the Higher Education and Research Bill 2011 violated an earlier Supreme Court order restricting lawyers going on strike.

According to the Delhi high court’s cause list, the writ petition 4416/2012 will be be heard tomorrow before the acting chief justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.

It is understood that the petition will request for the court to initiate contempt proceedings against BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra and BCI member Rajinder Singh Rana, as well as the Delhi bar council chairman Rana Parween Siddiqui, vice chairman Vijay Sondhi and secretary Murari Tiwari.

The petition cites pamphlets signed by bar council members that were allegedly distributed at various courts to lawyers.

BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra commented that the BCI’s and state bar council’s call to strike for two days was not mandatory on any lawyers.

“There was absolutely no intention to violate any part of the order of the apex court,” he said. “It was a not a compulsion - rather it was optional and was discretion of concerned bar associations.”

Legally India reported two weeks ago that Awasthi would bring contempt proceedings following his unsuccessful writ seeking a stay on the strike before the Delhi high court.

The contempt petition is understood to rely on the 1988 Supreme Court judgment in Ex. Capt Harish Uppal vs. Union of India & Anr, in which the apex court ostensibly banned lawyers going on two-day strikes and severely restricted the circumstances under which lawyers could take such action.

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