Advocates Protection Bill 2021
ADVOCATES PROTECTION BILL, 2021 General Introduction:
The Advocates Protection Bill, 2021 was issued by the Bar Council of India on July 2, 2021. A seven members team was formed to draught the law, with the challenges and difficulties encountered by advocates and their families in mind.
ADVOCATES PROTECTION BILL, 2021 Major Object:
The Bill’s major motivations are claimed to be the protection of advocates and the removal of impediments to their performance of their duties. It further stipulates that advocates must be provided with social security and the bare necessities.
ADVOCATES PROTECTION BILL, 2021 Introduction of the Bill:
Short title – The Advocates Protection Bill, 2021
Extend – Whole of India
Date of enforcement – Central Government may appoint
Total Section – 14 Sections
ADVOCATES PROTECTION BILL, 2027 Introduction of the Bill:
Section 1- Short title and commencement
Section 2 – Definitions
Section 3 – Punishments for offences
Section 4 – Compensations
Section 6 – Compounding of offences
Section 7 – Police Protection
Section 13 – Power to make rule.
Section 14: – Application of code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to proceeding under this Act.
OBJECT OF THE BILL
• The Preamble states that the Bill id for the protection of advocates and their functions in the discharge of professional duties
The main reasons for the bill are stated to be the protection of advocates and to remove obstructions in the discharge of their duties. There are various reasons mentioned in the bill that cause obstruction in the performance of duties.
The Bill came up also to implement the 8th United Nations Congress on Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders ( 1990 ) to which India was a party.
• It was in this congress that the ‘ Basic Principles on Role of Lawyers ‘ was also adopted.
In this declaration, there are clauses that guarantee the functioning of lawyers.
• It sought to make sure that Governments protect lawyers and that they are able to perform their duties.
ACTS OF VIOLENCE DEFINED
• Under Sec.2 of the bill, the definition of ‘ advocate ‘ is to be the same as in that of the Advocates Act, 1961. There, ” advocate ” means an advocate who entered any role under the provisions of that Act.
• The same section also defines ‘ acts of violence ‘.
• These include all such acts committed against the advocates with an intent to prejudice or derail the process of impartial, fair and fearless litigation.
• These ‘ acts ‘ could be of threat, harassment, coercion, assault, malicious prosecution, criminal force, harm, hurt, injury etc. that potentially impact the living and working conditions of advocates.
• This also includes loss or damage of property. These offences are to be cognizable and non-bailable.
PUNISHMENT AND COMPENSATION
• Sections 3 and 4 talk about punishment and compensations. Punishments can start from 6 months and extend up to 5 years; and for a subsequent offence, up to 10 years.
• Fines start at Rs.50,000 and go up to Rs.1 lakh ;
• and for subsequent offences fines can go up to Rs.10 lakhs.
• The Bill also empowers the court to award compensation to advocates for the wrongs committed against them.
INVESTIGATION BY AN OFFICER ABOVE THE RANK OF DSP
• The bill proposes that the investigation of these offences shall not be done by any person below the rank of Superintendent of Police and must be completed within 30 days of the registration of the FIR.
• The bill also proposes the right of police protection to advocates, upon proper investigation by the court.
• The next important provision in the bill is that of constituting a redressal committee.
• A three-member committee for Redressal of Grievances of Advocates and Bar Associations has been provided at each level i.e District, High Court and Supreme Court.
• The head of this committee is to be the head of Judiciary of that level such as District Judge for District Level, Chief Justice or his nominee for High Court level and CJI or his nominee for Supreme Court level.
PROTECTION AGAINST SUITS PROTECTION AGAINST ARREST AND PROSECUTION
• Section 11 provides that ” No Police Officer shall arrest an Advocate and/or investigate a case against an Advocate without the specific order of the Chief Judicial Magistrate.
• When information is given to an Officer – in Charge of a Police Station of a commission of any offence by an Advocate, the Police officer shall enter or cause to be entered the substance of information with a book to be kept by such officer and refer the information with other connected materials to the nearest Chief Judicial Magistrate, who shall hold a preliminary inquiry into the case and the Chief Judicial Magistrate concerned shall issue notice to the advocate and give the opportunity of hearing to him or to his counsel or representative.
• The act proposes that the State and Central governments have to make provisions to provide financial assistance to all needy Advocates of the country in unforeseen situations such as natural disasters or epidemics. A minimum of Rs. 15,000 every month shall be provided.
Presumption as to coercion in case Public Servant obtaining Privileged Communication from Legal Practitioner
• Section 12 provides that where any public servant having the power of investigation or arrest under CrPC is found in possession of or found to use in his investigation any such privileged communication or material which can be shown to be obtained from an Advocate, it shall be presumed that such privileged communication or material was obtained by such public servant by coercion.