Written by: Mahima Saini
Intern, Vidhi Parivartan
- On 18th February, the Jodhpur-based lawyer named Jugraj Chauhan, aged 48 years old. He was stabbed in the broad daylight & he was stabbed 2-3 times, because of this, it lead to the strike in several courts in Rajasthan.
- Incident was captured in the CCTV and the series of events that led to the introduction of the Rajasthan Advocates Protection Bill, 2023, in the state legislative Assembly. Advocates also demanded protection for themselves and for their families.
- Following this, on February 28, the Rajasthan High Court has taken suo-moto cognizance of the lawyers’ strike. It stated, “We reiterate that any attempt to prevent any lawyer or litigant from entering or appearing in court to argue the matter will be strictly prosecuted as an act of obstruction in the administration of justice, and appropriate action will be taken against such individuals..”
- The Bar Council of India had urged the Rajasthan government to enact legislation to protect advocates. In Jodhpur, an advocate wasgruesome murdered;the advocates went on strike in Jaipur. BCI then contacted the State government, imploring them to support the bill and requesting the advocated to stop their strike.
- On 22nd March 2023, the Rajasthan State Assembly passed the Advocate Protection Bill, 2023, andthe Bill was approved by voice vote in the Rajasthan Assembly. Being the first state in the nation to pass legislation aimed at ensuring the protection of advocates, Rajasthan has created history.
- The Advocates Protection Act was introduced and implemented with the goal of protecting lawyers against assault, grievous hurt, criminal force, and intimidation. The bill would also pay for any harm or loss to their property.
- Section 3 of Advocate Protection Act 2023, states that assault, grievous bodily harm, criminal force, and criminal intimidation against an advocate are all considered offences under the Act if they are committed while the advocate is discharging their duties inside court premises.
- Section 4 of Advocate Protection Act 2023, states that if an advocate files a police report about such act mentioned in Section 3, then the police shall, if it deems fit, provide protection to such advocate.
- Section 5 of Advocate Protection Act 2023, Notwithstanding anything contained in IPC, 1860 states the punishment for the offences under this act. The Punishment & fine will be based on the Assault and criminal force (2 years of imprisonment and fine is up to 25,000), the act of voluntarily causing grievous hurt (7 years of imprisonment and fine is up to 50,000) & voluntary commission of criminal intimidation (2 years of imprisonment & fine up to 10,000).
- Section 6 of Advocate Protection Act 2023, states that any offence under the act shall be cognizable meaning thereby that an accused can be arrested by the investigating authority without a warrant.
- Section 11 of Advocate Protection Act 2023, the misuse of the Act’s provisions would be punishable by up to two years in prison.
This Advocate Protection Bill, 2023 provisions included to protect the Advocates from reprisal, harassment, or violence, as well as provisions to preserve their freedom of speech and expression while discharging the duties.