Lawyers of the Madras High Court, on Monday, took action to demand the withdrawal of amendments made to the Advocates Act, 1961, in May this year. The primary cause of the agitation was the Bar Council of India’s decision to suspend 126 lawyers from Tamil Nadu, banning them from practising law in any part of the country. Amongst those suspended, include members of the Joint Action Committee, Bar Council of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu and more.
The amendments made to the Advocates Act gives the High Court the power to file disciplinary action against lawyers found to be violating terms. According to the Act, lawyers would be prosecuted for taking part in activities like trying to influence judges, protesting within the court’s premises, showing up in an intoxicated state and more.
These amendments were drawn up after continuous protests by lawyers in 2014 and 2015, continuing into this year. The lawyers argue that such rules prevent them from practicing the law freely and goes against their rights. The High Court, however, argues that that such guidelines help maintain the decorum of the court.
The lawyers chanted various slogans against Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Madras HC Chief Justice. Large groups of policemen were deployed as security around the HC and iron barricades were put up as additional protective measures. The situation saw signs of escalation when protestors attempted to trespass, but were prevented in time by the police.