Parmanand Pandey

I have always been of the view that lawyers have no legal, ethical or social right to go on strike unless, of course, something egregious has happened which has bearings on the safety, security of the people and the country.

Now we hear that lawyers in Uttar Pradesh have gone on agitation for reasons which no sensible persons can justify. Let me hasten to add that I have no love for the present government in Uttar Pradesh. To be fair and frank, I have not taken any benefit as a lawyer from Uttar Pradesh government, at any point of time either by the present or previous dispensations. Therefore, I am under no obligation of any body.

I have been informed from my sources that lawyers are demanding that after the age of sixty every lawyer should be given a decent pension benefit. The State in India is known as a ‘Welfare State’. The duty of the state is to see that nobody suffers from hunger of deprivation. When I use the word ‘nobody’ it includes lawyers also; but it does not mean that lawyers should form a different class of beneficiaries. If the demands of lawyers were to be accepted then why not the same benefits be extended to others like; private doctors, chartered accountants, labourers and shopkeepers etc.? After all, there contribution to the society is by no means less than the lawyers.

What is really shocking is that the so-called agitation of the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh has been hijacked by some political goons, who have their own personal axe to grind. In a highly politicised atmosphere, where most of the lawyers owe allegiance to one party or other, it is impossible for the Bar Council to take any dispassionate decision. It would, therefore, be in the fitness of things that the State Bar Council should immediately withdraw the agitation and start a debate on its charter of demands, which it has presented to the state government. Demand for some subvention is alright, which is given to journalists and other professionals from time to time but the strike or agitation without any consensus of the legal community, resorting to violent agitation is highly condemnable. It is the time that the Bar Council understood its prime responsibilities otherwise; it would cause irreparable damage to its image.

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