Advocates abstain from work at Ranchi civil court on Monday to protest against the lathicharge on their colleagues in Jaipur last week. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Advocates in the state abstained from work on Monday, in line with a Bar Council of India decision to observe a token strike as a mark of protest against the police lathicharge on colleagues in Jaipur last week.
As many as 17 lakh advocates registered with the Jharkhand State Bar Council (JSBC) stayed away from various courts and tribunals, including the Jharkhand High Court, expressing their solidarity with the legal fraternity.
JSBC chairman Rajiv Ranjan said the assault on advocates was uncalled for and the police had purposely unleashed force on advocates who were agitating peacefully.
“The police barbarism has reached its pinnacle and when advocates who are upholders of the laws are not spared what will be the plight of the common man?” he remarked.
Advocates at the Ranchi district court and high court reached the premises in uniform but did not enter court rooms. Judges, however, sat in their respective rooms and disposed of a few matters, sources said.
But the strike meant that litigants could not pursue their cases.
“The strike has affected my work,” said Mahabir Prasad, who had filed a bail petition for his son who was in custody. “The high court was to hear the petition today, but my advocate refused to argue the case because of the strike,” he rued.
Sambit Verma, another litigant, was equally distraught “I don’t know what is the fate of my case which was fixed before a bench of the high court,” he said, about his plea against Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) that, he alleged, had slapped an inflated bill on him.
“I got a date after fighting the case for several months in the high court. A lot of hard work went into getting the case posted. Now, all that effort has been wasted because of the strike,” he said.
But advocates defended their agitation. The strike was for the betterment of society and to ensure that the police remained within limits, claimed advocate Arbind Kumar.