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Tuesday 7 April 2020

Advocates assaulted in Howrah wonder who called strike off

In April, police in Howrah, at the instance of the Municipal Council, had entered the court complex and assaulted advocates indiscriminately

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Reshmi Rea Sinhahttps://www.sirfnews.com
Advocate-on-record, Supreme Court of India

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Kolkata/New Delhi: Remember the infamous incident of manhandling of advocates in Howrah of April? The West Bengal administration has disposed of the case in an unceremonious manner without either addressing the grievances of the victims or punishing the goons.

In the month of April 2019, the police in Howrah, at the instance of the Municipal Council of the town, had allegedly entered into the court complex and assaulted advocates indiscriminately. Due to that unprovoked attack by the police, Bar Associations all over West Bengal went on strike.

The advocates were observing cease-work peacefully. The West Bengal bar council called a meeting on 21 May with the bar members/advocates and decided that 24 May at 3 PM, a meeting would be held to resolve the issue.

Different Bar Associations were supposed to give their representations and resolutions to the Bar Council of West Bengal on that day. But on 23 May, an urgent meeting was called by the Bar Council of the State. The office bearer of the council was seen trying to close the issue hastily for reasons known best to him. However, the advocates objected to that as it was already decided that the meeting would be held on 24 May.

On 24 May, the advocates came from different bar associations, namely, Hooghly, Chandannagore, Srirampur and so on.  The advocates representing various bar associations gathered before the Bar Council of West Bengal office to attend the meeting.

Advocates present there said that Ashok Deb, the chairman of the Bar Council of West Bengal, did not hold the meeting. At 1 PM, he fled from the backdoor on the pretext of going to the washroom. Immediately thereafter, news flashed on television that the strike has been called off!

The advocates’ questioned how the West Bengal Bar Council could pass a decision without hearing out the various bar associations’ representations and resolutions. Even the Howrah Bar, whose members practise at the court where the incident had occurred, did not make a representation.

On 24 May in the morning, only two office bearers of the Bar Council of West Bengal were present. Therefore, the quorum for passing the decision was not met either.

The advocates said that some goons of Trinamool Congress tried to stop the advocates when they were dissatisfied with the act of the West Bengal Bar Council. The advocates’ apprehend that such a hasty decision of withdrawal of the strike was taken because Rajiv Kumar, against whom a lookout notice has been issued by the CBI, will apply for bail.

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