‘Lawyers’ strike taking a toll on criminal justice system’

Police say they are forced to make fewer arrests, unable to present undertrials in court

The ongoing indefinite strike called by lawyers across all six district courts in the city is hindering the criminal justice system, said a police officer on Wednesday.

The officer said they are making arrests only in heinous crime cases like murder, attempt to murder, robbery and others which are unavoidable. On Wednesday, a total 157 persons were arrested in all 15 police districts and other units like special cell and crime branch. The count is almost half the average number of arrests that were being made before the strike.

Cautious police

“Due to the ongoing tension, we have advised policemen not to visit courts till next orders. We are trying to pacify the situation by holding a meeting with office-bearers of bar associations. Both [police and lawyers] are part of the criminal justice system and we should together to solve the issue as it is causing inconvenience to litigants,” said a police officer.

The strike has forced policemen to present arrested persons before a Magistrate at the concerned jail directly. The Magistrates are unable to record statement of victims/complainants under CrPC 164 and it also delaying bail pleas of undertrials as no lawyer is ready to represent them in court.

Chargesheets have been prepared in many criminal cases and they need to be submitted in courts. All that is pending because of the strike, said a police officer.

“I had a hearing date in November and I had booked a ticket and applied for leave at my office [in Mumbai]. I had to cancel my ticket and leave because of the lawyers’ strike. I don’t know when the courts will resume work and when I will get my next date,” Suresh Khanna, a litigant in a civil suit, told The Hindu over the phone.

Alternative measures

The communication unit of the Delhi Police, in an advisory to all district police heads, ordered that undertrial prisoners should not be taken to the courts until the situation becomes normal. It said that arrangements should be made for videoconferencing with the undertrials and in urgent cases, judges may be requested to hold courts in respective jails.

The lawyers, meanwhile, have said that the strike will continue till November 20. N.C. Gupta, president, Delhi Bar Association, said that lawyers from all across Delhi will stage a protest march from Patiala House Courts to Parliament on November 20. The strike has been supported by lawyers across the country.

On November 2, a major clash broke out between Delhi Police personnel and lawyers inside Tis Hazari Courts allegedly over a parking row. The lawyers have been on strike since then demanding action against the police personnel who allegedly attacked them.

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Printable version | Jul 3, 2020 4:45:06 PM |

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