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Bar council to challenge SC order

Guwahati, Dec. 26: Expressing “anguish” over the Supreme Court-imposed ban on strikes by lawyers, the Bar Council of India (BCI) has decided to file a review petition in the apex court.

A resolution to this effect was adopted at the joint meeting of members of the BCI and chairpersons of the state bar councils here last night. According to a copy of the resolutions, made available to The Telegraph, the BCI urged the state bar councils to file review applications in the apex court within the period of limitation.

BCI president D.V. Subba Rao said: “The BCI is pained to point out that the Supreme Court had stated that in the rarest of rare cases — when the integrity, independence, dignity and honour of the bench and bar are threatened — a one-day strike may be resorted to and the court will turn a blind eye to it, but in this case, that right has been denied by saying that the permission of the Chief Justice or district judge will be required and the same will be final and binding.”

With the countrywide backlog of cases totalling over three crore and the number of bar strikes increasing, a five-member bench of the apex court, headed by former Chief Justice G.B. Pattanaik, , ruled on December 17 that lawyers had no right to go on strike.

The judgment came on the eve of a nationwide strike called by the BCI in protest against the Legal Services Authorities (Amendment) Act, 2002. The Act provides for a lok adalat in every public utility department of the government.

Last night’s meeting, however, did not take any decision on the BCI’s strategy vis-à-vis the contentious Act. The matter is to be discussed at its next meeting.

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