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Supreme Court directs all High Courts to set up committees to address grievances of lawyers

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The Supreme Court on Thursday asked all High Courts across the country to constitute redressal committees, in order to address the genuine grievances of the lawyers.

The order was passed by the Bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah on a suo motu case regarding rampant strikes in bar associations across the country leading to massive disruption of the court’s work.

Noting that it was important to have an appropriate forum to ‘ventilate’ their genuine grievances, the Apex Court ruled that no member of the Bar should go on a strike and abstain from work. 

As per the top court of the country, the committee would comprise of the Chief Justice and two other senior judges, one from the Bar and another from services.

The two senior judges would be nominated by the Chief Justice, as well as the Advocate General, the Chairman of the State Bar Council, and the President of the respective High Court Bar Association, it added. 

The Apex Court further suggested the High Courts to constitute a similar grievance redressal committee at the district court level also.

The committees could consider genuine grievances related to any difference of opinion or dissatisfaction arising out of any procedural changes relating to the filing or listing of matters, as well as any genuine grievances pertaining to misbehaviour by any member of the lower judiciary, it observed. 

However, the Apex Court said that such allegations of misbehaviour must be genuine and not designed to ‘keep the pressure’ on a judicial officer.

The top court of the country disposed of the suo motu plea with a direction to the Registry to send copies of this order to the Registrar Generals of all High Courts.

The Bar Council of India had agreed before the Supreme Court in March this year to suggest the nature of grievances, which could be considered by the Grievance Redressal Committees, proposed to be set up at local levels to prevent lawyers from going on strike.

BCI Chairman and Senior Advocate Senior Advocate Manan Mishra had earlier apprised the Apex Court regarding the suggestion previously.

Earlier in 2021, the top court of the country had mulled the constitution of grievance committees at local levels, in order to address the problem of lawyers’ strikes.

It said that this has already been stated by this Court at least 10 times, not to go strike, adding that the committees were for the individual High Courts to consider.

(Case title: District Bar Association Dehradun vs Ishwar Shandilya and ors)

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