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Advocate Cannot be Arrested under New Advocates (Protection) Bill, 2021 explains Sarthak Chaturvedi



Justice in every society is of paramount importance. It is a major source of growth and development of a society, collectively as well as a particular part of it, aggrieved by unjust practices or norms currently prevailing, curbing the progress of the society. Judiciary, therefore, plays a vital role in ensuring that justice is delivered at every doorstep and establish a stepping stone in the path of progress and modernisation, where its citizens are free to live by their will and have utmost faith and confidence that their grievances will be adequately dealt and reasoned and their pleas shall be heard, thus, upholding justice in each and every given circumstances. 
The collective efforts of the judicial and law enforcement fraternity makes it possible that every citizen can rely on the impartial and industrious organisation to provide relief to its clients. They are jointly responsible for maintaining law and order in the society and provide a secure atmosphere as envisioned by the law – makers. 
Why is protection a necessity?
The ones responsible for the safety and security of all the citizens are not immune  to dangers and threats. There are unimaginable dangers and everyday dilemmas the law enforcement fraternity faces while continuously serving the nation. Keeping this in mind, these officers are given certain safeguards and privileges so that they can carry out their duties judiciously. Law enforcement officers are granted rights and safeguards subject to certain conditions in order to protect themselves according to the law and take necessary actions if and when, in their service, their person or property is threatened. The judges are given authority and guarding officers of law. They, too, are entitled to certain privileges that help them to take incumbent actions against all such persons who, by way of harming law enforcement officers, disrupt or intent to disrupt the peaceful conduct of justice. 
However, in this entire scenario, one of the most important elements is left out from such safeguards. The advocates are the major link between the judiciary and the public and play a consequential role in the administration of justice. They do not just represent their clients, they also assist in the authentic interpretation of statutes that results in a better and more practical analysis of the laws leading to a more rational approach in decision – making which is the ultimate objective of the administration of justice. 
As important as it sounds, it is also a dangerous task to take at hand. In simpler words, a lawyer is a warrior who fights his battles without armour. While assisting in the administration of justice, he encounters numerous challenges where his life, family and property are at stake. Despite their efforts and role, they are not immune to the dangers that await them in their profession. 
What the Bill proposes:
The advocates are subjected to endangerment while performing their duties. In the recent times, the incidents of attacks and violence against advocates and their families has increased at an alarming rate. Such incidents pose a threat at the judicial proceedings and indicate judicial malfunctioning. At this rate, it will become impossible for a lawyer to practice independently without being dreaded of his life and property or without any undue pressure, thus defeating the very object of justice. As the nation advances towards major changes in the socio – political structure, the judiciary is also largely affected. However, advocates are most affected and least protected from the erupting violence against this change. Many incidents of violence against lawyers have been reported in India time and again, some owing to the high profile disputes, others preventing them to represent the aggrieved. These incidents aren’t news to any of us, but the most dreadful part is that, despite all efforts, violence has grown to be more extensive, so much so that the legal fraternity is at crossroads to protect their families and their career. The Bar Council of India and State Bar Councils have made efforts at their levels but there hasn’t been a permanent solution to the problems the lawyers are facing. MP State Bar Council’s efforts to get the Advocates Protection Act dates as back as 2018. Many a times, Governments have promised to bring a statute to protect the advocate community, however, no significant changes have been witnessed so far. Now, Bar Council of India has resolved to put this Protection Bill into action, seeing that the acts of aggression and violence against advocates have risen drastically. The Council took matters into its consideration and constituted a 7 member Committee to draft the Bill that shall be a useful tool in protecting lawyers from such incidents in future and empower them against the anti – social elements that disrupt the judicial system in India.Recollecting these instances and alarming concerns of the legal fraternity threatening the judicial independence, BCI has drafted the Advocates (Protection) Bill, 2021, which is expected to cover all such acts and omissions endangering the life and practice of the lawyers and by extension, independence of the judicial system. 
The Committee took a detailed assessment of the recent incidents of assault, criminal force, grievous violence and threats caused to advocates while performing their duties and entailed in its resolution that such incidents cannot be overlooked as they deeply tear apart the confidence of legal aid and that strict and immediate action is required to address such grievances, which the Bill is expected to comprehend on. 
As the Bill awaits its fate, it is highly anticipated that, if implemented, it will bring a new phase in advocacy. The profession, in itself, involves high level of mental stress owing to the uncertainty of an individual’s fate which can adversely affect his productivity. These acts of aggression only add to the quantum of risk involved in practicing advocacy, which is a bigger concern for young lawyers. The Bill is an attempt to reduce such risk by a significant margin and to ensure security to the Advocates so that they can participate actively and efficiently in the administration of justice and bring upon social advancements in the society at large.

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