Thursday, September 28, 2023

Madhya Pradesh High Court initiates suo motu PIL over strike by lawyers

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The Madhya Pradesh High Court at Jabalpur has initiated Suo Motu Public Interest Litigation after the Chairman of the State Bar Council of Madhya Pradesh has asked the Advocates to abstain from court work from 23rd March.

Division Bench consisting of Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Vishal Mishra observed that we are of the considered view that the duty of a lawyer is to uphold the rule of law. It is he, who fights for the legal rights of a litigant.

There are almost 20 Lakh cases pending in the district court judiciary and more than 4 Lakh cases pending in the High Court. Every effort is being made by the Hon’ble High Court to reduce the pendency.

The action of the respondent No.1 (Chairman, State Bar Council of MP) seeking to abstain from court work is opposed to the well established principles of the legal profession. The respondent No.1 (Chairman, State Bar Council of MP) cannot call for an illegal act to be done.

Background of the Case

A large number of Advocates of Madhya Pradesh have gone on strike against a policy of the administration of the High Court to dispose of long-pending cases in district courts. The advocates are protesting against the 25 Debt Scheme introduced by the High Court in October 2021 to tackle the issue of old cases which have been pending for many years and have not been taken up. As per this policy, district courts are required to identify and dispose of the 25 oldest cases in each court quarterly.

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