Lawyers of Delhi’s four district courts struck work Friday, protesting the Delhi High Court’s decision to debar top advocates R.K. Anand and I.U. Khan for four months after they were found guilty of attempting to bribe a key witness in the high-profile BMW hit-and-run case.
“The strike was successful in all the four courts. The legal fraternity (lawyers) are abstaining from courts,” said Mahesh Sharma, chairman of co-ordination committee of All Bar Associations of Delhi.
Litigants had to return dejected from the Tis Hazari, Patiala House, Karkardooma and Rohini courts with lawyers either seeking adjournments or keeping away.
“I have come all the way from Meerut to attend my case, but on reaching here my lawyer informed me that he will seek adjournment because of the strike. I will now have to go back and come again,” said 65-year-old Ram Sharan.
The Coordination Committee of All Bar Associations of Delhi, a body of lower courts bar associations, called for the one-day strike, alleging that the high court had exceeded its jurisdiction by barring Anand and Khan from appearing in courts for four months.
“The high court has gone beyond its jurisdiction by debarring both the advocates from appearing in courts as this is the power vested with the Bar Councils under the Advocate Act 1961,” said Santosh Mishra, president of the New Delhi Bar Association.
The high court had Thursday recommended stripping Anand and Khan of their “senior advocate” designation, besides slapping a fine of Rs.2,000 each after establishing the authenticity of a sting operation conducted by private news channel NDTV.
The sting operation, conducted last year, showed the advocates asking key witness Sunil Kulkarni to change his testimony, in exchange for a large sum, to favour Sanjeev Nanda, accused of mowing down six people on the Lodhi Road in central Delhi in the early hours of Jan 10, 1999.