Thursday, January 25, 2018

January 25, 2018
Let me say this most categorically: If there is one High Court which is reputed for seldom going to strike, it is none other than Delhi High Court. It is only when something very serious happens that Delhi High Court Bar Association decides to go on complete strike. One such rare occasion was on 25 January, 2018. That is why even I was awestruck on reading in the news that the Delhi High Court Bar Association has called for strike on 25 January.
                                Sure enough, there were compelling reasons for the lawyers of Delhi High Court to go on a complete strike on 25 January. The Delhi High Court Bar Association resolved to abstain from work on Thursday, i.e. 25 January, as a mark of solidarity against a recent  dastardly attack on two senior and eminent advocates of the Delhi High Court – Kirti Uppal and Vikas Pahwa. As per a resolution passed by the Executive Committee of the Delhi High Court Bar Association, another attack had been staged against advocate Ravi Sharma, when two of his vehicles parked in the courtyard of his house were burned.
                                       Be it noted, these three advocates who have been attacked have together been supporting firmly the cause of a lady advocate. The matter reportedly pertains to lodging of a stalking case against a woman lawyer, who was then allegedly dragged out of her residence by the city police to arrest her despite court orders against coercive action. What is even more despicable is that the lawyers are now being themselves personally attacked!
                                       What can be more disgraceful than this! This should not have happened at the first instance! How will courts function normally if advocates themselves are subjected to personal attacks and even their vehicles are not spared?     
                                      As per the resolution of the Executive Committee of the Delhi High Court Bar Association, even though the FIRs have been registered by the lawyers, the attitude of the police “looks lackadaisical and deliberate protracting”. The police must wake up its ideas! This is a very serious charge!
                                          Needless to say, Delhi police must go all out to make the necessary amends in this direction and ensure that the culprits who attacked the lawyers are swiftly brought to book and strictly punished in accordance with the law! Delhi High Court Bar Association is reputed all over the world for always working in the most professional manner! What is said by its Executive Committee has to be taken most seriously by the Delhi police and steps must be taken by it promptly to restore the faith of the lawyers of Delhi High Court in the police!
                                          To put things in perspective, the resolution of the Executive Committee of the Delhi High Court Bar Association then asserts that, “The Executive Committee is unanimous of the view that the present situation is an extra ordinary in nature in as much as these heinous acts have been executed with the intention to overawe and strike terror in our community by using inflammable substances, in a manner so as to cause injuries or loss of life and damage/destruction of property in order to terrorize the Advocates to refrain from performing their professional duties. The Executive Committee feels that this act of terror threatens the statutory duty of lawyers to conduct themselves fearlessly and with dignity in defending a client.”
                                            To be sure, The Executive Committee also feels that inspite of registration of these FIRs by the lawyers and personal meeting of the Members of the Committee with the Police at the highest level apprising them about the nexus and also providing them with the CCTV footages of these criminal acts, adequate and proper attention is not being given to the matter and their approach looks lackadaisical and deliberately protracting.  The Committee further states that Proxy Counsels have been appointed for every Court and a list will be displayed on the notice boards as well as outside every Court room.”   
                                   Who can deny that attacks on lawyers in past few years have increased manifold? But what is most concerning to note is that now even the lawyers and that too senior and eminent lawyers like Vikas Pahwa and others are not safe even while practicing in the High Court and Supreme Court! The lawyers of Meerut are most concerned for his safety apart from Delhi because his father – KK Pahwa too is an eminent criminal lawyer in Meerut Bar and I consider myself fortunate to having interacted with him some years ago! Moreover, Vikas Pahwa is a legal luminary whose articles keep coming even in national newspapers like ‘The Times of India’ which I have the privilege of reading myself even though I have not personally met Vikas Pahwa ever till now! But he and his father are always appreciated and held in highest esteem by the lawyers here!   
                                                Anyway, coming back to the main subject, the Executive Committee of the Delhi High Court Bar Association on January 24 passed a resolution condemning the attacks on 9th and 22ndJanuary on the properties and cars of senior advocates Vikas Pahwa and Kirti Uppal who is also the President of Delhi High Court Bar Association by using inflammable substances. Not just this, a similar incident the lawyers claimed had taken place on 4th January when the two cars – Maruti Swift and Honda Amaze which were parked in the east Delhi house of advocate Ravi Sharma were torched by unidentified persons. Police itself admitted that attempts were made to set ablaze Vikas Pahwa’s Greater Kailash office building and cars on 9th January!   
                                          Vikas Pahwa who is also a member of the Executive Committee revealed that, “There is a complete ban. No advocate appeared in courts and no evidence was recorded in any case. We are holding a peaceful protest and have removed our bands. The Bar is also preparing a writ petition seeking an SIT probe into the incident.” Who can question this demand for SIT probe? There must be SIT probe and truth must come out as to who all are behind this dastardly attack on three eminent and senior lawyers of Delhi High Court. All the shops in the court complex are also shut following the Bar’s call and even Judges left their chambers on seeing the lawyers strike!
                                             It goes without saying that the lawyers all across India stand firmly and fully with these 3 senior and eminent advocates of Delhi High Court in this hour. It is the bounden duty of both Centre and Delhi government to ensure that full protection is given especially  to senior lawyers so that no harm is caused to them or to their property in any manner! They must not back away from it! Who is safe if lawyers themselves are not safe and that to in our national capital? No one! Needless to say, the strike by lawyers of Delhi High Court on January 25 stands fully and firmly justified and it was imperative to highlight the attention of the government to make serious efforts in this direction and to also ensure that police gets rid of its complacency that is too visible in this entire case!    
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.