The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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An advocate for a striking cause

After paralysing over 500 law courts across Bengal for 39 days, the men in black robes on Friday rallied to the support of the men in white coats, threatening disruption unless their demands were met.

The two forces came together on the city-centre protest pitch, popularly referred to as the ‘Metro channel’, where around 2,000 doctors had assembled. “Whatever you are doing is right. We have also taken to the streets with our own agenda. You have our moral support,” several lawyers present at the rally told the agitating doctors. Some even asked the medicine-men to take a lesson from the “successful campaign” being conducted by them, “despite government pressure”.

At around the same time, CPM state secretary Anil Biswas was claiming that some agitating lawyers were using firearms to prevent a large number of willing colleagues from rejoining the courts. “They (the advocates) are taking the law into their own hands,” alleged Biswas.

nBar Council missive: In another significant development during the day, the State Bar Council received a fax from its parent body, the Bar Council of India (BCI), requesting it to withdraw the ceasework for the time being, in view of the Supreme Court order.

Adhish Chandra Agarwal, BCI vice-chairman, said in his fax that the parent body, in its Guwahati conference from December 25, would discuss the issues relating to the court-fee hike. Agarwal added that that the Council would discuss the legality of a petition that it intended to file before the apex court, seeking a review of the judgment banning the ceasework by the lawyers.

Amiya Chatterjee, chairman of the state Bar Council, said the executive committee of the state body would consider the request of its parent body “with due importance” in the meeting fixed for December 23. The directive from the BCI has caused ripples in the state unit, with a section of executive committee members insisting that the ceasework not be withdrawn at this juncture.

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