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Nation-wide protest by lawyers brings judiciary to a standstill

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In solidarity with a lawyer who was shot dead at Allahabad District Court on March 12, lawyers across the country abstained from going to courts on Monday. The Bar Council of India (BCI) had appealed to lawyers to boycott court proceedings, to bring this event to light.

Though most lawyers agreed to take part in this boycott, the protest has been criticised by many, as it is against the law for lawyers to impede court proceedings in such a manner. The Supreme Court also advises against such actions that affect court proceedings. Although judges were present in courts, a great number of cases had to be adjourned as lawyers were absent.

Mr Byatha N Jagadeesha, a lawyer and human rights activist in Bangalore, said, “Though it is a valid expression of the freedom of expression and the freedom to protest, in this case, I feel that proper investigation and trial will happen even without such a protest by lawyers. It is obviously a sensitive issue, but we need to understand how it affects people waiting for justice. Instead, we could have all worn black bands or conducted a vigil, but a boycott such as this does more harm than good.”

Nabi Ahmed, a lawyer at Allahabad District Court, was killed when sub-inspector Shailendra Singh shot him, following an altercation on the court premises. The BCI is demanding an inquiry against the officer and asking that Ahmed’s family be given Rs 50 lakh as compensation.

– Akanksha Ohri, I MS Com

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