Lawyers strike cripples traffic in New Delhi
Work in the Lower courts across the Indian capital New Delhi and in the neaby areas were affected as the lawyers have announced an all India strike on Wednesday, to protest against the Government inaction towards their demands.
Lawyers elsewhere in India were also on strike to protest changes in the Criminal Procedure Code which they fear will marginalise them.
The CrPC (Amendment) Bill, introduced in the upper house of Indian Parliament in August 2006, proposes to disallow adjournments only on the ground that the lawyer handling a case is busy with another.
This is permissible under existing laws, though analysts have blamed repeated adjournments for delays plaguing the system.
The lawyers are also objecting to an amendment which will empower a judge to cross-examine a witness without going through a lawyer, a change they fear will adversely affect their business.
Traffic movement around central Delhi might also be disrupted this afternoon as the district court bar association members will organise demonstrations near the parliament and also organise a rally near India Gate as part of their protest.
The rally will pass through India Gate, Copernicus Marg, Mandi House, Barakhamba Road, Tolstoy Marg and Parliament Street. The lawyers are protesting against the government's inaction towards their demand for withdrawal of the recent CrPC amendments, which they consider "anti-people and anti-social."
The amended section 41 of the CrPC now grants discretion to the police while making arrests for offences punishable with up to seven years imprisonment. It lays down a condition for such arrests. This, however, has not gone down well with the lawyers, who think that doing away with the "deterrence of arrest might lead to an increased crime rate in the society."