In Uttar Pradesh, lawyers strike for over 100 days in year


21 Jun 2013
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Even if the strength of judicial officers were to increase from the present 18,000 to 70,000 on CJI T S Thakur's impassioned plea, the staggering pendency of over two crore cases may not be cleared in a hurry, thanks to frequent disruption of work in trial courts due to strikes by lawyers.

Uttar Pradesh has 51 lakh cases pending in trial courts, which accounts for over 25% of the total pendency in all states taken together. But, a ground zero report given to the Allahabad High Court listed 10 districts where the lawyers disrupted trial court work for more than 100 days on an average every year for the last five years.

Even if the number of trial court judges were increased substantially, how would they deal with pendency unless permitted to work by the advocates' associations, asks Law Commission chairman Justice B S Chauhan.

The report about working of trial courts in UP recorded the number of days that work at trial courts in the districts of Muzaffarnagar, Aligarh, Faizabad, Sultanpur, Moradabad, Mathura, Ghaziabad, Balrampur and Chandauli suffered due to lawyers' strikes between March 1, 2010 and March 31, 2015.

The five-year data is an eye-opener. In Muzaffarnagar, a total of 753 days was lost due to lawyers' strike, which means an average of 150 days a year. In Aligarh, it was 697 days (140 days a year), Agra 696 days (140 days every year), Faizabad 693 days, Sultanpur 603 days, Moradabad 596 days, Mathura 591 days, Ghaziabad 573 days, Balrampur 560 days and Chandauli 524 days.

After discounting weekly and religious holidays, the trial courts generally work for an average 250 days a year. If over 100 days are lost due to advocates' strike, it is understandable why the pendency monster refuses to be tamed.

The report prepared by the Allahabad HC, which is now also with the Law Commission, gave reasons why advocates struck work. The report said: "The Registry of the HC has also collected information from the District Judges regarding reasons of strikes in their respective districts, which are based on resolutions passed by the Bar Association/s."

It named a few of them, which ranged from bomb blast in Army school in Pakistan to lawyers getting tired due to Republic Day programme, rainy day, death of the mother of colleague advocate and moral support to Anna Hazare's movement.

In addition to this, the report said: "Some of the common causes for the strikes in all districts of Uttar Pradesh in the last five years are: non-declaration of holidays like Agrasen Jayanti, Basant Panchami, Nagpanchami, Budh Purnima, Bharat Milap, Saraswati Puja, Guru Teg Bahadur Singh Jayanti, Guru Govind Singh jayanti, Makar Sankranti, Ashtami Puja, birth day of Hazrat Mohammad Sahab, Holi Milan and Kavi Sammelan."

The panel which prepared the report said it found that lawyers resorted to strike on unacceptable and flimsy grounds. "In most of the districts, the strike is virtually institutionalised. Often these strikes are called for some specific actions, where a group of lawyers either does not want a particular case to be taken up or they desire a particular matter to be adjourned."

In Uttar Pradesh, lawyers strike for over 100 days in year - Times of India
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