•  •  Dark Mode

Your Interests & Preferences

I am a...

law firm lawyer
in-house company lawyer
litigation lawyer
law student
aspiring student

Website Look & Feel

 •  •  Dark Mode
Blog Layout

Save preferences

MK Mishra gives in, tells Law Com strikes are ok, after up to 4,000 Delhi lawyers strike at BCI office, throw shoes at him

The Bar Council of India, with Mishra at the helm, had bitten off more than it could chew in trying to tackle bar indiscipline and strikes, and was easily arm-twisted into a complete about turn yesterday

Translation: Have to save the BCI, have to oust Mishra
Translation: Have to save the BCI, have to oust Mishra

Bar Council of India (BCI) chairman Manan Kumar Mishra wrote to the Law Commission yesterday, withdrawing the BCI resolution that had recommended a ban on lawyer strikes and heavy fines for professional misconduct, after possibly up to 4,000 lawyers marched to the BCI office demanding Mishra’s resignation.

Mishra yesterday found that he had navigated himself into the space between several rocks and hard places by:

i) trying to appease the Law Commission by promising to ban strikes,

ii) then, a few days later, trying to resist the Law Commission’s plan to reduce the BCI’s powers by threatening a protest and/or strike,

iii) apparently having not foreseen the resistance of bar associations, which, ironically, the BCI had proposed to be responsible for regulating in an early draft of its Law Commission proposals.

When faced by the hordes of striking lawyers at the BCI gates, Mishra opted for yet another flip-flop and wrote to Law Commission chairman BS Chauhan yesterday:

My Lordship

On the issue of the matters relating to the [disciplinary committee (DC)] proceedings, ban on strikes by lawyers’ bodies and imposing of fine on the lawyers for profession and other misconduct and the participation of Hon’ble former judges in the DC matters, the Council is finding a very strong resentment from the members of the Coordination Committee of All District Courts Bar Associations of Delhi.

Today there was a large protest by the Hon’ble members of the Coordination Committee in the premises of the Bar Council of India.

In that view of the matter, in my opinion, the matter requires reconsideration by the Bar Council of India and the recommendations regarding the aforementioned points are hereby withdrawn.

Mishra succumbs to pressure
Mishra succumbs to pressure

Advocate Sunil Dahiya, a member of the Coordination Committee of All District Courts Bar Associations of Delhi, told us he had yesterday addressed close to 4,000 protesting lawyers, on loudspeaker, outside the BCI’s Rouse Avenue office in Delhi.

Dahiya said that according to messages widely circulated on 22 March, buses were arranged at 11am outside the Rohini district court for the participating lawyers’ commute to Rouse Avenue where they arrived around 12pm.

Protesters before BCI yesterday
Protesters before BCI yesterday

According to Dahiya, the protesters chanted slogans against Mishra, burnt an effigy and even threw shoes at him as he tried to leave the premises.

The protest had the support of even the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and the Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA).

According to a SCBA resolution passed yesterday:

The [SCBA] executive committee unanimously deprecates and condemns the arbitrary and unilateral manner in which these very important amendments have been proposed by the Bar Council of India to the Law Commission of India.

And DHCBA president Kirti Uppal released the following statement, as reported by Bar & Bench yesterday:

Our stand is clear that the DHCBA or any other stake holder have not been taken into confidence before sending any recomendation by the BCI.

Lawyers have a right to go on strike to protect the independence and dignity of the Bar. The Hon’ble Supreme court has recognised this right […]

The protest was planned after Delhi lawyers came to know that the BCI had passed a resolution recommending an amendment in the disciplinary provisions in the Advocates Act 1961, to impose fines of between Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh on advocates found guilty of professional misconduct, and to put a complete statutory ban on lawyer strikes.

Mishra had, in his turn, first threatened wide scale lawyer protests, and possibly strikes, against the Law Commission and government, if the BCI’s disciplinary powers were to be curtailed.

Click to show 6 comments
at your own risk
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.