This article on ‘The Karnataka Prohibition Of Violence Against Advocates Bill, 2023: All You Need To Know’ was written by Tosani Lal, an intern at Legal Upanishad.
In light of recent events where a corporate lawyer was assaulted by a cyclist, this road rage incident occurred on the Pune-Bengaluru Highway. Another similar incident occurred when a mob of about twenty members assaulted a couple of lawyers with a sword. In the year 2020, a lawyer was kidnapped and murdered for personal rivalry. These events have raised alarming concerns about the protection of advocates in India. Therefore, the Legislative Assembly of Karnataka has decided to introduce a bill that aims to protect and punish against any violence committed against advocates in India.
THE KARNATAKA PROHIBITION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST ADVOCATES BILL, 2023
The bill was drafted with the aim of safeguarding the lives of the advocates and punishing those who commit any criminal offence against them. Advocates play a significant role in the legal system. It shall be pertinent to note that even other key players in our Indian legal system, like the judges or the police, have been given protection by the law, but there seems to be no law for the protection of advocates.
As a result, the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers were adopted in accordance with the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crimes and the Treatment of Offenders, held in Havana, Cuba, with the goal of accelerating international cooperation in crime prevention and criminal justice.
Clauses 16 to 18 of this Declaration state that lawyers shall be given assurance by the government that all their duties and performances with respect to their professional service will not be threatened, hindered, harassed, or interfered with in an improper manner. They shall be given the liberty to commute to their clients freely, whether within the territory of India or outside Indian borders.
They shall be prevented from any form of sufferance or intimidation with unnecessary legal actions like prosecution, administrative, economic, or any sanction made with respect to any action taken by them with regard to recognition of professional duty, standard, and ethic. As per Clause 17, it states that in terms of the security of lawyers in question, it may be due to intimidation that might be caused while they are discharging their professional duty, and then it shall be the duty of the authorities to make sure that they are adequately safeguarded.
Therefore, after keeping these important provisions in mind, the legislative assembly passed the Karnataka Prohibition of Violence Against Advocates Bill, 2023, on February 23, 2023. The main object of the bill was to protect the advocate from being targeted by any form of violence or threat of malicious or frivolous prosecution by any party who tends to have ill intent towards such an advocate and who has tried to interfere and cause disturbance to the advocate in the course of their professional duty, which also causes an obstruction to the administration of justice itself.
As discussed in the resolution of the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crimes and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, Cuba, the legislative assembly has drafted the following in order to safeguard the interests of the lawyers.
Section 16 of The Karnataka Prohibition Of Violence Against Advocates Bill, 2023, states that the government should ensure that the lawyer’s performance with respect to their professional functions shall be executed without any form of threatening, obstruction, harassment or any kind of improper interference.
Second, there can have any mode of communication with their client whether, through travel within the Indian territory or outside without any form of obstruction caused to them.
Lastly, advocates shall not be aggrieved by action that tantamount to threat, malicious prosecution, issues with administration, economic sanctions or any other kind of sanctions with respect to any actions that they have taken to in pursuance of their performance as lawyers, and within the purview of their stand and ethical concerns.
Apart from this, Section 17 of the aforesaid bill also states that in case there has been any kind of incident where the security of the lawyer is compromised in the course of discharging his professional duties, it shall be the duty of the authority to make sure that the aggrieved lawyer is adequately given the requisite protection.
THE IMPORTANT FEATURES OF THE BILL
According to the bill, an advocate is one who pleads on behalf of a party before a court, tribunal, or authority, and this includes the police, who are given such authority by such an official institution, as well as the treatment given to such an officer of such an institution.
As per the bill, violence is defined as any form of activity that has the potential to cause danger to the advocate’s life, cause any kind of grievous hurt to the advocate, or is threatened to cause obstruction in his performance as an advocate with respect to any pending case in court, tribunal, or any similar institution.
With regard to punishment for the offence relating to Advocate, it provides if a person has been proven to commit an offence which violates the provisions of this bill, then they shall be awarded an imprisonment of three years which shall also be subjected to extension of six months to three years or couple with fine that may extend to Rupees three lakh. The Judicial Magistrate of First Class is empowered to try all the cases relating to violations of this bill.
The legislative assembly passed the Karnataka Prohibition of Violence Against Advocates Bill, 2023, with the intent to safeguard the advocate from any form of criminal activity caused by another party in the course of the advocate performing their duties. Although the provision of punishment is provided in the bill, the provision with regard to the compensation of the aggrieved advocate shall also be incorporated in order to address the grievance of the advocate.
LIST OF REFERENCES
- Cyclist Book for attacking lawyer in a road rage on Pune-Bengaluru Highway, available at: www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/bicycle-rider-booked-on-charge-of-attacking-lawyer-in-road-rage-incident/articleshow/84510686.cms (last visited on 20 December, 2023)
- Sword Attach on a lawyer on road leave Mumbai shocked, Times of India, 18 July 2021, The Statesman, 19 July 2021, available at: www.thestatesman.com/india/sword-attack-lawyer-road-leaves-mumbai-shocked-1502983893.html (last visited on 20 December 2023)
- 3 Held for kidnapping, killing lawyer, Times of India, 19 October 2020, available at: www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/pune-3-held-for-kidnapping-killing-lawyer/articleshow/78755495.cms (last visited on 20 December, 2023)
- The Karnataka Prohibition of Violence against Advocates Bill, 2023, PRS India, available at: https://prsindia.org/bills/states/the-karnataka-prohibition-of-violence-against-advocates-bill-2023