10,000 protesting lawyers take to streets, court work affected (Lead)February 18th, 2009 - 8:52 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) Nearly 10,000 lawyers took part in a march from India Gate to Parliament House Wednesday to protest amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) that abolish the provision of arrest in offences punishable with up to seven years in jail. The rally disrupted traffic as well as work in the lower courts in the national capital.
“We got a very good response from the lawyer fraternity and nobody appeared in the district courts. More than 10,000 lawyers joined the march. We are going to give a memorandum detailing our objections to the amendments in CrPC to the home minister and then wait for the response to decide our future course of action,” Santosh Mishra, vice chairman of the All Bar Association, told IANS.
“Lawyers have come to the capital from Rajasthan, Udaipur, Saharanpur, Bijnor, Meerut and so many other places to take part in the march,” Mishra said.
The amendment proposes that no arrest will be made in a non-cognisable offence except under a warrant or order of a magistrate. The police officer can instead issue a notice requiring the accused to cooperate in the investigation.
Also the reasons for arrest should be sound and recorded in writing by the police officer.
The march affected the traffic movement around central Delhi causing inconvenience to the commuters.
“I was struck in the traffic at India gate for almost an hour due to which I could not attend an important meeting in Connaught Place. This is ridiculous. If lawyers want to raise their voice there are other means of protest as well but causing inconvenience to common people is not done,” said Ranjita Sharma, an MNC executive.
The protest started at around 12.30 p.m. from India Gate and continued till 3 p.m.
Meanwhile, all the officiating members of Delhi High Court Bar Association sat on a one-day hunger strike to protest the amendments. However, work was not affected in the Delhi High Court.
“The amendments are anti-people and anti-social and doing away with the deterrence of arrest might lead to an increased crime rate in the society,” Rajesh Kumar Wadhwa, leader of the lawyers’ coordination committee, said.
D.K. Sharma, secretary of the Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) said that the lawyers are also protesting the recent bill passed by parliament that allows foreign lawyers to practise in the country.
“We are protesting the bill that poses a grave threat to the profession of advocates which has been treated as business on par with trade and commerce, and would allow foreign legal entities into India,” Sharma said.