In a blow to the trend of advocates’ associations giving frequent calls for boycotting court proceedings, the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday set three months’ deadline for all the Bar associations in the State to implement the Bar Council of India’s (BCI) 2002 resolutions, including the decision not to resort to abstention of court proceedings for more than a day even in exceptional cases.

Also, the High Court issued a direction to its Registrar-General to take steps to set up a committee, if not set up, to amend the rules under Section 34 (1) of the Advocates Act, 1961, for laying down conditions for permitting advocates to practice in the High Court or sub-ordinate courts, and for initiation of appropriate action against them for boycotting court proceedings, according to the Supreme Court’s direction.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, issued these directions while disposing of a public interest litigation petition filed by social activist Vishwanath Swami.

Petitioner’s contention

The petitioner contended that the Supreme Court had, in a 2002 verdict (in Harish Uppal’s case), declared that lawyers have no right to boycott court proceedings and alos to give call for boycott of courts.

Pointing out that the Supreme Court though had issued directions in this verdict to all bar associations to implement BCI’s 2002 resolutions and to the High Courts to frame rules under Advocates’ Act, 1961, to initiate action against advocates for boycotting court proceedings, the petitioner complained that the bar associations in the State did not implement the resolutions.

Mr. Swami had filed the petition when the advocates boycotted court proceedings for about two weeks after violence at the City Civil Court complex in Bangalore on March 2, 2012.

Meanwhile, the Bench refused to accept the contention of the AAB that framing of rules under Section 34 (1) of the Advocates Act, 1961, for laying down conditions for permitting advocates to practice “is not mandatory but directive”.