Draft Advocates Protection Bill: BCI Invites Stakeholders' Comments
The Bill on protection of advocates has been drafted by a committee which had no female advocate as a member.
On 2 July, the Bar Council of India invited comments from the stakeholders of the newly proposed draft Advocates Protection Bill.
The draft Bill which has been put out in public domain for comments is drafted as per the report of a 7-member committee constituted by the Bar Council of India. The committee was constituted in the wake of reports from different parts of the country about attacks on lawyers.
As per the press release, the BCI has directed the circulation of the draft Bill to all Bar Council and Bar associations. All stakeholders have been requested to give their inputs within a week's time or before 9 July 2021, by writing to email@example.com.
What is the Bill About?
The draft Advocates Protection Bill is aimed at ensuring adequate protection to members of the legal fraternity so that they can carry on their duties as officers of the court fearlessly, without having to worry about their and their family's safety.
In the press release, concerns raised regarding the risks faced by lawyers and inadequate legal measures in place to protect them have been reiterated.
The committee has also deliberated upon the need for social security, apart from physical security and the protection against illegal arrest and detention and redressal of grievances of Advocates and Bar Associations too.Bar Council of India
The objective of the Bill is to ensure greater protection of advocates and their functions in discharge of their professional duties.
The Bill not only proposes to protect advocates from incidents of assaults and intimidation, but also aims at establishing a system for their social security.
As per the Bill, whoever commits or abets the commission of an act of violence (other than grievous hurt) against an advocate will face punishment of imprisonment of minimum 6 months and maximum 5 years. That person will also have to pay a fine of minimum Rs 50,000 and maximum Rs 1 lakh.
Lack of Representation in the Committee
The draft Bill has been created on the recommendations of a 7-member committee consisting of the following members:
Senior Advocate S Prabakaran, Vice-Chairman, Bar Council of India;
Senior Advocate Debi Prasad Dhal, Executive Chairman, Bar Council of India Trust;
Advocate Suresh Chandra Shrimali, Co-Chairman, Bar Council of India;
Advocate Shailendra Dubey, Member, Bar Council of India;
Advocate A Rami Reddy, Executive Vice-Chairman, Bar Council of India Trust;
Advocate Shreenath Tripathi, Member, Bar Council of India; and
Advocate Prashant Kumar Singh, Member, Bar Council of India.
As is evident from the list, the committee did not have a single female advocate as a member. The committee also did not have adequate representation from the Dalit, Bahujan, and Adivasi community.
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