Lawyers stall work in 8 states,say more to come

Work in district courts in eight states across North India was paralysed on Monday,as lawyers went on a day’s strike against the amendments in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:January 20, 2009 12:36 am

Work in district courts in eight states across North India was paralysed on Monday,as lawyers went on a day’s strike against the amendments in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). Lawyers in the Capital shouted slogans and burnt the effigies of ‘those behind the amendments’ during the strike called by the Federation of Bar Associations.

The amendments grant the police the discretion to arrest those accused of cognizable offences with imprisonment up to seven years.

“The action committee of the Federation of Bar Associations believes the amendments secure the personal liberty of the accused at the cost of life and safety of the victims,which will be disastrous for society,” Delhi Bar Association Secretary Jaiveer Singh Chauhan said.

The advocates claim by doing away with the provision of mandatory arrest,the amendments remove fear from the minds of criminals,who will misuse the provisions.

Aimed at preventing ‘whimsical’ arrests by the police,the amendments in Section 41 of the CrPC lays down conditions for arresting an accused. Already granted the President’s assent,the amendments propose that instead of arresting the accused,the police officer may issue a notice of appearance and asking him/her to cooperate in the probe.

Rajiv Khosla,spokesman of the co-ordination committee of the Bar Association of Delhi,said: “There is a complete strike in all the northern states including Delhi,Himachal Pradesh,Punjab,Haryana,Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh.”

This was the third time in two weeks that the Bar associations were on a day’s strike in the Capital.

The lawyers associations have sent a memorandum to the President and the home minister,seeking withdrawal of the proposed amendments. They have urged the state governments to not implement the amendments.

“The Federation of Bar Associations makes an appeal to the state governments to refuse implementation of the changed provisions so that the Centre is forced to review them,” Khosla said.

The advocates are also opposing the Limited Liability Partnership Bill,claiming it is will allow backdoor entry for foreign lawyers to practise in the country.

The bar associations have announced another strike across North India on February 3,which will be followed by a country-wide strike on February 18.

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