Bar Council of India calls on advocates to send suggestions for Advocates Protection Bill

There is a provision in the draft that any advocate who is under threat of violence shall be entitled to police protection for a duration which the Court deems fit, upon making an application before the High Court of the State within which he is registered to practice law.

The Bar Council of India has announced that its 7-Member Committee constituted to draft the Advocates Protection Bill has furnished its report and the Council has decided to circulate it to all the Bars of the country.

BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said, “Bar Council of India would like to announce that pursuant to the decision of the Bar Council of India on 10.06.2021 whereby a 7-Member Committee was constituted to draft the Advocates Protection Bill, the Committee has furnished its report today to the Council and the Council had decided for it’s circulation to all the Bar Councils, High Court Bar Associations and Supreme Court Bar Association and also to all other Bars of the country. All the stakeholders have been requested to peruse the draft and provide their inputs if any, section-wise, within a week from today i.e. by/on/before 9th July 2021 on the Email ID advprotectionbill.bci@gmail.com.”

The press release said suggestions received shall be duly considered by the Council and will consider incorporating necessary changes, if any.  “The final draft Bill shall be sent to Hon’ble Minister for Law and Justice to table the same before the Parliament.”

The seven-member committee comprised

1. Mr. S. Prabakaran, Senior Advocate, Vice-Chairman, Bar Council of India;

2. Mr. Debi Prasad Dhal, Senior Advocate, Co-Chairman, Bar Council of India;

3. Mr. Suresh Chandra Shrimali, Co-Chairman, Bar Council of India;

4. Mr. Shailendra Dubey, Member, Bar Council of India and Press Council of India;

5. Mr. Prashant Kumar Singh, Chairman, Co-ordination Committee of State Bar Councils;

6. Mr. A. Rami Reddy, Executive Vice-Chairman, Bar Council of India Trust; and

7. Mr. Shreenath Tripathi, Chairman, Legal Aid Committee.

The committee deliberated on important issues affecting the advocates fraternity threadbare. The advocates is literally acting as one of the essential wings of the justice delivery system akin to the police and the judiciary and while the police and judiciary have access to protection, social security, and even privileges; the most important link between the two who argue and present the cases/matters in courts is/are not given proper protection against the nefarious activities of anti-social elements.

It is stated the Committee has also deliberated upon the need for social security, apart from physical security and protection against illegal arrest and detention and redressal of grievances of Advocates and Bar Associations too. “The Committee has endeavoured to take all these connected issues into consideration and draft the “Advocates Protection Bill”. The Bill, if passed by Parliament, will ensure adequate protection to members of the legal fraternity, so that they can carry on their duties as officers of the court, fearlessly without having to worry about their and their family’s social and physical safety,” reads the press release.

There is a provision in the draft that any advocate who is under threat of violence shall be entitled to police protection for a duration which the Court deems fit, upon making an application before the High Court of the State within which he is registered to practice law.

It is provided that no police officer shall arrest an advocate or investigate a case against an advocate without the specific order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate. When information is given to an officer in-charge of a police station of a commission of any offense by an advocate, the police officer shall enter or cause to be entered the substance of information with a book to be kept by such officer and refer the information with other connected materials to the nearest Chief Judicial Magistrate or any other Magistrate empowered to take cognizance in such cases, who shall hold a preliminary inquiry into the case and the Chief Judicial Magistrate or the concerned Magistrate shall issue notice to the advocate and give an opportunity of hearing to him or to his counsel or to his representative.

Further, the Central Government, as well as the State Governments, may make provisions to provide financial assistance to needy advocates of the country during any unforeseen situation like an epidemic or any other natural calamities. A minimum of Rs 15,000 every month may be made available to each needy / affected advocate through the Local District Magistrate / District Court on the recommendation(s) of the concerned State Bar Council.  Out of the total financial assistance, 50% may be borne by the Central Government, and the other half may be borne by the concerned State Bar Council. This assistance may be granted till the end of a pandemic situation or the ill-effects of calamity is over, the draft reads.

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