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  • Thursday, 18 April 2024
The Advocates (Protection) Bill, 2021, An Advocate cannot be arrested

The Advocates (Protection) Bill, 2021, An Advocate cannot be arrested

 The Advocates (Protection) Bill, 2021, An Advocate cannot be arrested


The Bar Council of India released the draft Advocates Protection Bill 2021. A seven-member committee was constituted to prepare the bill keeping in view the problems faced by the advocates and their families.

  • Mr. S. Prabhakaran, Senior Advocate, Vice-Chairman, Bar Council of India; 
  • Mr. Debi Prasad Dhal, Senior Advocate, Executive Chairman, Bar Council of India Trust; 
  • Mr. Suresh Chandra Shrimali, Co-Chairman, Bar Council of India; 
  • Mr. Shailendra Dubey, Member, Bar Council of India; 
  • Shri A. Rami Reddy, Executive Vice President, Bar Council of India Trust; 
  • Mr. Srinath Tripathi, Member, Bar Council of India; And 
  • Mr. Prashant Kumar Singh, Member, Bar Council of India.










Purpose of the Bill:

The preamble states that the bill is for the protection of advocates and their functions in discharging their professional duties. It outlines a wide range of 9 points of purpose and reasons for the bill. 

The recent rise in incidents of attacks on lawyers, kidnappings and regular threats is a major reason. Where the safety of lawyers is threatened as a result of their duty, they should be adequately protected by the authorities. To protect advocates, such a bill is necessary. It also calls for advocates to ensure social security and a minimum requirement for life. 










Definition of Violence:

Under Section 2 of the Bill, the definition of 'Advocate' is the same as in the Advocate Bill, 1961. There, "advocate" means a lawyer registered on roll under the provisions of that bill.

This section also defines 'acts of violence'. These include all such actions taken against advocates with the intention of bias or derail the fair and fearless litigation process. These 'actions' can be of intimidation, harassment, coercion, assault, malicious prosecution, criminal force, loss, injury, etc. that potentially affect the living and working conditions of advocates. This includes loss or damage to property. These crimes are cognizable and non-bailable. 










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Punishment and compensation

Sections 3 and 4 talk about punishment and compensation. Punishment starts from 6 months and goes up to 5 years; And for subsequent offenses, up to 10 years. The fine starts from Rs. 50,000 and goes up to Rs. 1 lakh; And for subsequent offenses a fine of up to Rs. 10 lakhs may be imposed. The bill also gives the court the power to compensate for crimes committed against lawyers.

Investigation and police security by an officer above the level of SP

The bill proposes that these offenses should not be investigated by any officer below the rank of Superintendent of Police and the investigation should be completed within 30 days of the FIR being lodged. The bill also proposes the right of police protection to advocates upon proper investigation by the court. 









Prevention Committee

The next important provision in the bill is the formation of a redressal committee. A three-member committee has been provided at each level i.e. District, High Court and Supreme Court for redressal of grievances of advocates and bar associations. The head of this committee is the head of the judiciary at that level such as district level district judge, chief justice or judge nominated by him for high court level and CJI or judge nominated by him for Supreme Court level.

The remaining two members are to be appointed by the respective Bar Council by nomination. The Chairman of the Bar Council will be a special guest at the meetings of the Prevention Committee. 








Protection against promises

No lawsuit should be filed against a lawyer who is acting in good faith. Communication between advocates and their clients must be respected and privacy protected. 

The lawyer cannot be arrested

Section 11 provides that “No police officer shall arrest a lawyer without the specific order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate and / or investigate a case against a lawyer. When a crime is reported by a person to the officer in charge of a police station, the police officer will write the summary of the information in the book kept by such officer and refer it to the Chief Judicial Magistrate. Information along with other related material to the nearest Chief Judicial Magistrate, who will conduct a preliminary inquiry into the matter and issue a notice to the concerned Chief Judicial Magistrate Advocate and give him or her counsel or representative the opportunity to hear.

After the hearing, if the CJM finds out that an FIR has been lodged against the Advocate for some malicious reasons arising out of the discharge of the official duties of the Advocate, then the CJM will grant bail to the Advocate.







Social security

A big provision in the bill is social security. The bill proposes that the state and central governments should make provision for providing financial assistance to all the needy advocates of the country in case of unforeseen circumstances like natural calamities or epidemics. At least Rs. 15,000 will be provided every month.





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