“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
After a long tussle by the Advocates of Rajasthan, The State’s assembly finally passed an Advocate Protection Bill. The matter started after the gruesome murder of an Advocate in Jodhpur High Court after which advocates all over Rajasthan stopped working and went on a strike leading to a stay on all legal proceedings in the state.
As a consequence of all this, the state has passed the bill for advocate protection becoming the first state to enact a law for the protection of Advocates from assault and grievous hurt, criminal force and criminal intimidation against the advocates, in connection with the discharge of duties as an advocate, and damage or loss to their property. The bill was tabled in the assembly last week and passed on 21st March with some amendments, by voice vote.
The major highlights of the bill include Section 6 and 7 under which the offences under the bill are made cognizable as well as compoundable meaning thereby that an accused can be arrested by the investigating authority without a warrant
The offences punishable under the bill provided under Section 5 are as under:
- In case of causing grievance hurt to an advocate, a maximum imprisonment of seven years and a fine of ?50,000 [Section 5(2)]
- In case of assault on a lawyer, the maximum punishment will be imprisonment of two years and a fine of ?25,000 [Section 5(1)]
- In case of criminal force and intimidation against a lawyer, a maximum of two years and a fine of up to ?10,000 [Section 5(3)]
Additionally, the offender shall also be liable to pay the damage caused to the property and can also be made liable to reimburse the medical expenses incurred by the such advocate as determined by the Court.
Apart from this, the provisions for police protection to advocate in need are also provided under Section 4 of the Bill. Also, under Section 11, courts have the power to punish an advocate who misuses the provision of this Act or uses the same for malicious purposes or makes a false complaint under the bill with imprisonment up to two years, or with imprisonment up to two years, or with a fine or both.
The Bill will now be presented in the parliament for the further approval/disapproval of making it an Act.