Fri, 02 Jun 2023

New Delhi [India], May 25 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Thursday was informed that Delhi Advocate Protection Bill 2023 has been sent to Law Minister and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

The High Court asked the Delhi Government to examine and hold a consultation of stakeholders on the draft bill.

Justice Prathiba M Singh on Thursday directed the Delhi Government to take steps to examine the bill and to hold a consultation of the stakeholders on the bill.

Advocate K C Mittal appeared for the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) and informed the bench that a draft has been prepared and sent to the Law Minister and Delhi's CM for consideration.

The bench directed to place on record a copy of the draft bill. The court also directed the government to take examine the draft and to hold a consultation on it. It also directed to file an Action Taken Report (ATR).

The bench has listed the matter for further hearing on September 6. The High Court is hearing a petition filed by Deepa Joseph seeking a direction to the Government to ensure a safe and secure atmosphere for the advocates in Delhi.

On April 12, the High Court on had sought a response from the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) and the Coordination of All District Bar Associations on a plea seeking enactment of the Advocates Protection Act in Delhi.

Justice Singh had directed BCD and Coordination Committee to file a status report on their deliberations regarding the drafting of the Advocates Protection Bill.

Advocate KC Mittal stated that both bodies are in the process of drafting the bill.

It was also submitted that the issue is also being discussed with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, the law secretary and other senior functionaries.

A Petition seeking a direction to the Central Government to ensure a safe atmosphere in Delhi for lawyers to practise their profession. It also sought further direction from the Centre and Delhi Government to consider enacting the Advocates Protection Act in Delhi in the wake of the killing of Advocate Virender Kumar Narwal on April 1, 2023 evening.

The Petition has been moved by advocate Robin Raju for advocates Deepa Joseph and Alpha Phiris Dayal. Dayal is a member of the Dwarka Bar Association.

The petition said that the broad daylight murder of a senior colleague of the Bar by two miscreants in Dwarka, Sector-1, has shocked the Petitioners like others in the profession.

The Petitioners felt perturbed more so because the incident happened in Dwarka, the area where one of the petitioners resides and that too to a fellow Advocate who also happened to reside in the same area where resides, the plea was submitted.

The concern of the Petitioners about their own safety has been aggravated by seeing the visuals and video of the cold-blooded murder of an influential and senior member of the Bar.

The murder of Virender Narwal has compelled the Petitioner Deepa Joseph to think about the safety of female members of the Bar like her, the plea said.

The petition also mentioned that there is an alarming rise in incidents of violence inside the court premises of different district courts in Delhi.

It is well known that a law intern had also sustained bullet injury when the dreaded gangster Jitender Gogi was shot inside a courtroom in Rohini District Courts, the petition claims.

The shootout that happened in Rohini Court in September 2021 that led to the death of Gogi had caught immense media attention and more importantly, the High Court had also taken suo moto cognizance of the issue of security of courts in Delhi, the petition submits.

After the shootout, a writ petition was also filed before the High Court by Deepa Joseph for ensuring the safety and security of District Courts in Delhi. The said case is clubbed with the Suo matter and is pending before the Court of Chief Justices.

The petition has stated that it is high time now that a decision is taken for the enactment of the Advocates Protection Act in Delhi, particularly when recently the State of Rajasthan has also recently passed such an Act.

Only an Act that guarantees protection to the fraternity of lawyers practising in Delhi will help remove the sense of fear that has been embedded in the minds, particularly among young first-generation lawyers like the Petitioners herein due to the repeated acts of firing inside court premises and altercations to state the least, it added.

It is also stated that Section 3 and 4 of the Rajasthan Advocates Protection Act, 2023 provides police protection to any lawyer who is attacked or against whom criminal force and criminal intimidation is used that deters him from discharging his duties as an officer of the Court.

There are also penal provisions in the Act that stipulates the period of sentence for committing an offence under Section 3 of the Act.

It is said that post the death of Advocate Virender Narwal has created an atmosphere that does not feel favourable to practise the profession without fear.

Hence, it impinges upon the right to practise any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business to all citizens under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India and also violates Article 21 of the Constitution that guarantees protection of life and personal liberty, the petition said. (ANI)

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