HC initiates contempt proceedings against Bar associations for boycott call

The High Court of Karnataka on Thursday initiated suo motu proceedings against office-bearers of some of the Bar associations in Davangere and Mandya districts for giving calls for abstaining from court proceedings.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum passed the order taking note of reports submitted by the court’s registry on the instances of advocates boycotting court proceedings in various taluk courts and the district courts in Mandya on various dates between January 4 and February 8.

The Bench noted that the Bar associations gave a call for abstaining from court proceedings even after the Chief Justice on February 3 made an open appeal to all the Bar associations across the State not to resort to boycotting the court proceedings irrespective of genuineness of the cause.

Apart from the fact that prima facie the acts of the Bar associations in Mandya and Davangere districts amount to criminal contempt of court in the light of the apex court’s judgements, the calls given for boycotting court proceedings caused suffering to the litigants as well as advocates at a time when the courts are returning to normal proceedings after facing difficulties for months owing to COVID-19, the Bench observed.

Citing judgments of the apex court declaring that the “lawyers have no right to go on strike or give a call for boycott, not even on a token strike”, the Chief Justice had reminded the members of the Bar associations in his February 3 letter that abstaining from or boycotting court proceedings amounts to interference with the administration of justice.

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