Shimla (Dec 15): In an important order of far-reaching consequences, Himachal Pradesh High Court has held that holding of bandh/ hartal or calling for bandh/ hartal is illegal and impermissible as it has the effect of interfering with the fundamental rights of the people. Taking sue-motu note of protest by lawyers, the orders were passed by the division bench comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice VK Ahuja on a petition of Shimla District Bar Association seeking suitable land for a new judicial complex.
The court was anguished by shifting of the stand by members of the district bar association, holding of ‘dharna’ and abstaining from attending courts and calling for ‘Shimla Bandh’ on December 10, 2010 by the lawyers while the matter is sub-judice, and specially since the previous orders of the high court dated May, 10, 2007 regarding construction of judicial complex at Chakkar was not challenged by the bar association. The high court wondered if there was any legal or moral justification in taking the matter to the streets after three years without challenging it in the court as the lawyers were not laymen, unaware of legal procedure, quoting several orders of the Supreme Court in this regard.
The High Court also impleaded the State Bar Council as the 7th respondent in the case and directed it to file an affidavit as to what action has been taken by the Council in this matter under of Bar Council of India Rules. The Court also directed the SP Shimla to file an affidavit as to whether any case has been registered in respect of the alleged disorderly conduct pertaining to the alleged call made by the bar association for ‘Shimla Bandh’ on December,10, 2010.