Delhi lawyers to strike work on January 20

New Delhi: Lawyers in all districts courts here have decided to abstain from work on January 20 to enforce a nationwide protest against the Centre's proposal to establish an ombudsman consisting of judges to hear complaints against lawyers.

The Co-Ordination Committee of all bar associations of Delhi district courts said in a statement that the Bar Council of India (BCI) is already handling complaints against advocates and the Centre is trying to take away the BCI powers by setting up a parallel body of judges.

"Lawyers are amazed that the government, under the grab of protecting the interest of clients and promoting the rule of law, is giving authority to judges by appointing them as ombudsman to throttle the independent and fearless voice of the members of the Bar who often speak against the corruption and corrupt practices of the judges," said Rajiv Khosla, the spokesperson of the co-ordination committee.

The committee also opposed the government's move to enact a law to take over the BCI's authority over legal education and alleged it is being done to make the Bar Council "absolutely redundant".

"The government is unable to keep its control to provide quality education in various colleges and universities in India and therefore it is not understood as to how it will be able to improve the standards of legal education by bringing it under the control of some other authority," it said.

Asking the government not to enact such laws, Khosla said lawyers will neither tolerate any attempt to dilute the BCI powers nor allow the government to open the legal sector for foreign advocates.