Earlier in Forum







Q: Should lawyers resort to strikes?
This is the fourth instalment of readers’ response

Strikes are illegal now, lawyers should know

Advocates should not go on strikes when the Supreme Court of India has declared this method of protest as illegal. Advocates on strike should obey the verdicts of the judicial courts.

In case the advocates do not appear on the date of the hearing, the judicial officers are competent to impose a fine of Rs 500 for one hearing and on the second hearing, this fine may be raised to double for defaulting advocates. Non-payment of the fine should be considered as contempt of court. Advocates attending court proceedings during strike should be provided with security.

Judicial officers should decide cases on the basis of record after two adjournments. Litigants who cannot argue their viewpoint before the court may be allowed to seek the assistance of competent persons. While pronouncing the order, judicial officers should put the cost of the case on the advocates at fault to compensate the litigants. This would put the lawyers back on track.

AVTAR SINGH, Chandigarh

Lawyers are not against the clients

As per the Advocates Act, advocates have been accepted as Officers of the Court. They help the litigants for a fee and at the same time, they help the judicial officers in thrashing evidences and law points on the subject under controversy. The advocates have a major role in the administration of justice. If the advocates are not present in the court, the judicial officers will face many difficulties in arriving at the right decision.

When they help the litigants, they charge a fee, but when they help the judicial officers, they are not paid anything. The advocates never go on strike to demand something from their clients. They strike work only when they feel that judicial officers or the administration has not treated them well. It is then well within their right to go on strikes.

Even though there is no dispute between the litigants and the advocates, the litigants suffer when the advocates are on strike. Therefore, strikes by the lawyers should be rare. Strike, as far as possible, should be avoided.

DALIP SINGH WASAN, Advocate, Patiala

Maintain order

In our country, where the crime rate is high, we continue to need more lawyers. The country cannot afford that the lawyers should go on strikes. Strike is not the only way of registering the protest. Strikes disturb peace, but rarely ever raise awareness on the issues for which the fight is taken up. With peace and order in the country declining, strikes will further deteriorate the situation. Lawyers should avoid strikes for the sake of law and order in the country.


Isn’t justice slow already?

If court is a temple of law, the lawyers are its priests. They act as the link between the court and the common man to bring him justice. The lawyers have a great responsibility to beget justice to the client and be able to differentiate between the true and false cases.

If these responsible and educated persons choose to strike, it hinders the path of justice. In developing countries, getting justice itself is a tiring process even otherwise. Strike further slows down this tortoise pace of justice. Strike brings loss to the nation and affects many persons, not just the litigants.

Lawyers are an educated community that can present their case before the government in a wiser manner. Strike is the weapon of the people who know no other way to express their anger.


Act as role models

Justice delayed is justice denied. There are thousands of cases pending in courts for several years and many new are in the queue. In this scenario, boycotting court is illegal. The lawyers enjoy a special status in society and what they do, affects not only individuals but also the administration of justice, which is the backbone of a civilised society. They have to conduct themselves as role models for others and behave like responsible citizens. Unfortunately, the way they have boycotted courts and raised slogans against their seniors has caused immense harm to the judicial system in general and the litigants in particular. With their action they have lowered their own esteem in the eyes of the general public.

RAJESH SHARMA, Jalandhar Cantonment

Uphold code of ethics

Lawyers are expected to uphold the codes of ethic and professional conduct, which are required to retain the delicate bond of trust between the lawyer and the client, between the lawyer and the court, and between the lawyer and other members of the legal profession. All ideals of professional conduct are based upon certain values and principles, which reflect the legal, moral and professional obligations to the public and to legal profession.

Lawyers’ recurrent strikes create a lot of problems for clients, resulting in loss of time and money. Besides causing mental agony, the strike also delays the disposal of cases pending for years. The Supreme Court in its landmark judgment on December 17, 2002, had rightly observed that “lawyers have no right to go on strike, call for a boycott of courts or even go on a token strike”.

The weapon of strike does more damage than any benefit. If lawyers have any grievance, they could wear black badges and hold protest marches in a peaceful manner. Litigant’s sufferings could be well imagined. Recently, a man was forced to argue for the bail of his son before a session’s court after his counsel refused to represent him due to lawyers’ strike. No one should be allowed to hold the judiciary at ransom. We need to device new methods to raise our voice against prejudice, and the foundation of law should not be further destabilised due to nasty strikes.



No law-abiding person should adopt unlawful means to achieve their goals. The lawyers should rather use their negotiating tact for their justified claims. They have sworn to abide by the Constitution and the law and uphold their values, so they should set an example for others. Their acts discourage the general public from turning to the court for help in resolving the disputes.

S. K. MITTAL, Talwara

Strike is not the only solution

Lawyers are protectors of law and democracy, so they should not resort to strike. Thousands of cases are already pending in courts. Democracy allows us freedom of speech and expression and we should not forget that rights and responsibilities go hand in hand.

Lawyers are public servants, responsible towards public and also get highly paid for their services. They should not act irresponsibly. Strike is not the only solution; there are many alternatives to air grievances.

If doctors resort to strike, there would be no one to treat patients. Similarly, if lawyers adopt the same way, then who would take care of the society? If lawyers have been granted special rights under the Constitution, they also have responsibility towards the society.

In Japan workers of a shoe-making company went on strike in a unique way. They started making shoes of only one foot, but they never stopped working. In a few days they got their demands fulfilled. Layers need to be rational and must know that strike may not solve anything. They must protect true spirit of the law.



Lawyers should refrain from strike as it has an adverse effect on clients seeking justice in the court of law as justice is delayed. Whenever lawyers go on strike, working of courts is paralysed. Important decisions are delayed and clients suffer as a result.

The strike by Delhi lawyers since January 2, 2006, in protest against the creation of a court in Rohini, has paralysed the functioning of the court. As a result the Delhi High Court has passed an order to provide justice to clients without the assistance of a lawyer.

Lawyers should refrain from going on strike in public interest. They can show their resentment by a one-hour token.

A major objective of the profession is to serve the cause of justice, but strike can deprive his client of it.

SIMMI MOHINDRU, Jalandhar City

Cancel licence as penalty

One feels distressed and anguished when a responsible section of society, such as doctors and lawyers proceed on strike on flimsy and frivolous grounds. They gratify their whims and fancies while inflicting untold woes and miseries upon common people by paralysing normal functioning of essential services.

Collective bargaining through strikes and agitation does not mean that every powerful lobby should be allowed to hold the nation to ransom. Even our parliamentarians are setting a bad precedent by stalling the proceedings of Parliament on one excuse or the other. The basic purpose of electing representative to formulate national policies and legislations on the basis of thorough and minute discussion on every aspect therefore stands defeated.

Lawyers who are capable of pleading cases of others must find some other way of settling their grievances other than resorting to strike as it means countless troubles to litigants who approach the court to seek justice. In no case should the lawyers be allowed to hold strikes and if they insist on striking work, they should be dealt with sternly, if need be, their licences should be suspended or cancelled as a punitive measure.

R. L. GOEL Ladwa, Kurukshetra


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