HER Bill: Lawyers in Maharashtra boycott courts



Mumbai: Judicial work in several courts in Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra was on Wednesday affected as lawyers abstained from work to join their counterparts from across the country in response to a boycott call given by Bar Council of India (BCI) to oppose a proposed bill which seeks to whittle down its powers.

The lawyers are opposing the proposed Higher Education and Research (HER) Bill, 2011, as it aims to take away BCI's autonomy to regulate law courses and legal profession.

Around 1.25 lakh lawyers, affiliated to Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa, have announced their support to the all India agitation, said Anil Singh, BCI member and former Chairman of the State Bar Council.

About 1.7 million lawyers from all over the country are expected to abstain from work for two days, beginning today, he said.

In Mumbai alone, there are 22,000 lawyers who are members of the State Bar Council, Singh said, adding that most of them are supporting the two-day protest called by BCI to lawyers all over the country.

BCI is a statutory body created by Parliament to regulate and represent the Indian bar.

The bar associations in various places in Maharashtra, including Ahmednagar, Beed, Bhandara, Gondia, Chandrapur, Dhule, Gadchiroli, Jalna, Kolhapur and Pune, have announced their support for the stir.

In Mumbai, lawyers from various Bar associations in metropolitan courts at Mazgaon, Dadar, Andheri, Bandra, Borivali, Mulund and Vikhroli, joined the protest.

The Bar associations at Sessions Court, Labour Court, Family Court, Accident Claims Tribunal, Central Administrative Tribunal and Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal in the city also lent their support to the agitation, Secretary of State Bar Council, Pravin Ranpise, said.

PTI