Observing that the responsibility to ensure peace, harmony and law and order around the High Court premises rests with the Chandigarh Administration, a full bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday asked the UT Advisor, Home Secretary and Director General of Police to appear in person on Wednesday in a matter pertaining to the litigants who were denied entry into the HC premises by the advocates abstaining from work.
Earlier in the day, a full court meeting decided to dismiss the cases of those advocates who don’t appear for the scheduled hearings. Subsequently, some cases were dismissed.
The bench of Chief Justice Krishna Murari, Justices Rajiv Sharma and Rakesh Kumar Jain issued a notice to the Bar Association of Punjab and Haryana High Court through its secretary; to Chandigarh through its Advisor, and to Union of India through Additional Solicitor General of India and Assistant Solicitor General of India. The state of Haryana is already represented by Advocate General, who has accepted the notice for Wednesday.
The High Court took suo moto notice of the matter following the indefinite strike and protest by the Bar Association over the Haryana government’s decision to establish Haryana Administrative Tribunal (HAT) for adjudication of service matters of its employees.
The matter was brought to the notice of the court by way of three complaints by various litigants, who wanted to appear in person but were being forcibly denied entry into the premises of the High Court despite having a valid entry pass.
The order of the bench read, “It has also been brought to our notice that except for gate No.1 where the advocates and members of Bar are squatting, all other entry gates have been locked and they have set up a counter at gate No.1 where scanning into urgency of the litigation is being done before permitting the litigants to enter the High Court premises. This is totally unconstitutional and illegal. A right of the litigant to have access to the Court where his matter is pending cannot be denied and the same amounts to interference in the due administration of justice. We are also informed that even the litigants who intend to file their petitions in person are being stopped forcibly. This court cannot sit as a mute spectator to all this.”
D P S Randhawa, president, High Court Bar Association, said, “I would request the High Court Judges not to pass any adverse order as we are fighting for righteousness and a genuine cause. The dates be given for next hearing till the strike is on.”
Bar body asked to pay Rs 50,000 for not allowing litigant to enter HC premises
By Jagpreet Singh Sandhu
For not allowing a litigant to enter the High Court premises in a case, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday imposed a cost of Rs 50,000 on the Bar Association of Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The cost was imposed by the bench of Justice Manoj Bajaj, who directed the Bar Association of the High Court to pay it to the person who was not allowed to enter the court by the advocates on strike.
The matter pertains to a petition filed by a Haryana resident, who claims to be in a live-in relationship with a woman. He prayed for her release from the custody of her father where she is currently residing. Since the matter was listed for hearing on Tuesday, the woman told the court that she came to attend the hearing along with her father, but her father was not allowed entry by the lawyers on strike. She also produced the entry pass issued by the pass counter of the court. The woman expressed her willingness to live with the petitioner. The woman was sent to Nari Niketan till the next date of hearing scheduled for August 26.
The court observed that the striking lawyers violated the fundamental right of the citizens, including litigants, by denying them access to the court.
“Licence to practice as a lawyer is an effective weapon meant for use on behalf of an aggrieved litigant or to bring reforms in the society through courts of law. An advocate who is well-equipped with the knowledge of law becomes extraordinary citizen and carries an honour by nobility of the legal profession. Patience, prudence and wisdom are supposed to be the best companions of a meaningful lawyer and these essentials are displayed in the behaviour and conduct of a person as an advocate or otherwise. Therefore, it is never expected that an advocate can be insensitive to the rights of the litigants,” read the court order.