Earlier in Forum







Q: Should lawyers resort to strikes?
This is the second instalment of readersí response

Enforce the rule of law

A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers, so said H. L. Mencken, the great thinker, but the leading lawyers who rose to become the highest Judges in India never allowed the judges to mark their own examination papers.

There was a time when strike by the lawyers was unheard, as this mode of protest was for the unions that were (mis)led so that politicians could have their petty gains.

Lawyers, like doctors, were always considered agents of God, who helped the poor and healed the sick. When a lawyer suddenly goes on strike, his clientís suffering increases, as the courts then have no alternative but to adjourn the hearing, which causes incalculable harm to the accused.

Highly educated persons like lawyers should not resort to strike just to gain publicity. If a lawyer resorts to strike today, the time is not far when even judges would do so, as majority of the judges are promoted or selected from the Bar itself. Imagine the fate of India, the largest democracy in the world, if justice suddenly walks out on the people. Let us not sow the seeds that compel the lawyers to resort to strike.

Think of a soldier, who in spite of a hard and horrible life, defends our borders, with a smile on his face, remains unsung and un-noticed and yet does not resort to strike.

As a retired soldier, I feel that the government should come out with a bitter pill to enforce the rule of law, debarring the doctors and lawyers from resorting any strike that would harm the interests of the nation. Let this mode of protest be only for the union workers and not the doctors and lawyers, on whom we all depend.


Donít hold judiciary to ransom

The lawyers have no right to go on strike, as we have had far too many strikes already that have paralysed the functioning of the courts and the action cause great hardship to the litigants. Strike by lawyers is like holding society to ransom and is totally unacceptable.

Lawyers should be barred from practice, if they resort to strike. No one can be allowed to hold the judiciary to ransom. Effective steps should be taken by the Supreme Court of India to stop the growing tendency of illegal strikes by the lawyers.

The strikes by them have lowered the image of the judiciary in the eyes of the general public. This is a shocking state of affairs and will no longer be tolerated by the poor litigants. Strong measures, I think, would go a long way in curbing this tendency of the lawyers.

N. K. DHIMAN, Jagadhari

Strike makes public suffer

Restoring to strikes was a powerful tool in the hands of the public to paralyse the administration of our colonial masters in the pre-Independence era. Today, this method of expression of resentment has lost its appeal in the eyes of the general public, as it feels highly inconvenienced in the event of a strike of any kind, because then a number of public services stop functioning due to a domino effect.

Lawyers are a privileged section of the society that has no pressure of any kind either from the politicians or from the bureaucrats. They have other means at their disposal to get their grievances redressed. They have no fear of any harassment from the government. It is therefore, not proper on their part to go on strike like other employees.

Due to their action, judiciary, a very powerful and vital pillar of our democracy, comes to a halt. It leads to a situation that is extremely dangerous for the country. Time-bound legal remedies get delayed and some of these delays are so dangerous that the very purpose of justice is defeated. Lawyers should not go on strike.

L. R. SHARMA, Sunder Nagar, Mandi

Raise voice on the basis of logic

Lawyers too have right to air their grievances, but not by striking work. Mahatma Gandhi who himself was a lawyer is often quoted for popularising strike as an expression of non-cooperative peaceful disagreement, though he had to move uneducated masses against the British.

The present democratic set-up has given every citizen a legal right to file public interest litigation for putting forth any justified cause. Instead of resorting to strike, the lawyers should find other logical means to raise their voice. If they cannot discuss their own case without using pressure tactics, our education system will be unable to churn out civilized persons.


The proprieties should begin at home

If charity begins at home, then the proprieties should also begin at home. The lawyers are the officers of the court of law, and the same court of law has held repeatedly that the lawyers have no right to resort to strike in the larger interest of the general public. Therefore, it is not only a legal compulsion but also a moral duty of lawyers to abide by the law of the land. They have a duty towards society in general and litigants in particular. They facilitate justice and are therefore, not justified in impeding justice. The litigants come from far off places leaving their important jobs on hand to attend to their legal obligations. The strike by lawyers throws all the court work in disarray.

The grievances of lawyers should also be redressed on a priority basis by the authorities concerned. Every effort should be made to ensure speedy and efficient disposal of justice by the court.

RAJIV BHALLA, Chandigarh

Lawyers need to act responsibly

No, the lawyers should not resort to strike because they are the real custodians of law. They need to act responsibly to fight for and getting justice delivered to the litigants, as the entire legal structure is dependent on them.

Everyday, thousands of cases are filed through them. Their service is valuable because our legal procedures are far too complex to comprehend. Due to their professional knowledge, lawyers can understand the complexity of the law and guide their clients accordingly. Their logical reasoning can influence the judgement in many cases. The lawyers should not resort to strike in the larger interest of the country because a large number of cases are already pending in numerous courts.



The lawyers are supposed to help the judiciary and not to create any hurdle. They are the custodians of transparency in justice. They should use objectivity in deciding matters. They should oppose the use of physical force to meet their demands. Collective threats and pressure tactics should never be part of their professional conduct because if we accept force as our standard, then the murderers will win and the people with guns will rule. Lawyers should fight for their cause legally. If they resort to strike, it will be an approval for all sections of society to use the force for bargaining.

JASWINDER, Jalandhar

Strike isnít a moral right

Strike is a legitimate weapon of protest in a democratic society. However, strikes by lawyers obstruct and delay the dispensation of justice, which is the primary function of the state in a democracy. A strikes, therefore, invites and promotes anarchy and chaos.

Strike by lawyers is a betrayal of the trust reposed in them by their clients. Justice delayed is justice denied, and such actions further add to judicial delays. As per the code of conduct for the lawyers outlined by the Bar Council of India, a lawyer is supposed to help the court arrive at a just verdict within the shortest possible time. And strike by a lawyer is an act contrary to this guideline.

Lawyers can air their grievances in the court or Bar council. They do not have any moral or ethical right to go on a strike and compound the woes of already troubled middle and lower strata of society.


Token strike can also be effective

Lawyers by profession are facilitators, seeking justice, arbitrators and a good counsel when common people make errors yet they themselves have defied the Supreme Court order banning strikes, holding the justice machinery, which is already overburdened and toothless, to ransom. Lawyers need to have more respect for the law as they are the torch-bearers for common people. Advocacy is a noble profession if pursued authentically and not as a money-earning machine. When advocates feel that the dignity, independence and integrity of the Bar or the Bench has been lowered, they can go on token strike, which should not exceed one day, should be peaceful and not be insulting to any. The nation expects all concerned to display maturity and bring this ugly episode to an early end.


Complete ban can do the trick

Modern India is a strikerís paradise. How can lawyers be denied the privilege to go on strike on issues of irrelevance in the name of unionism by so-called Bar councils?

The increase in litigation and delayed justice in the temples of justice at all levels call for a professional work culture in the judiciary, which should be ensured by all stake holders, including lawyers.

In my opinion, a temporal ramification to grant justice with a reduced waiting period of judgement is a vital issue of concern. It makes no room for strike, and it is worth considering because justice delayed is justice denied. Though there is politics in Bar councils, it should not be allowed to affect the judiciary at any cost.

There is a strong case for sensitising the society at large, which have lost faith and confidence in the judicial system due to long delays. Every sincere effort to reduce the delay in granting justice, including complete ban on strikes by lawyers, is a welcome step and should be supported by all. The ban can be helpful in creating a conducive work culture, which is much needed for an all-round development in various sectors of the economy, including the judiciary, with lawyers as its heroes.

Prof M. M. GOEL, Kurukshetra


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