The Telangana High Court orally observed, while directing the State Government to exempt lawyers and their clerks/typists from lockdown restrictions. It also cautioned the lawyers to not misuse their liberty
By: Gurleen Kaur Anand, Amity University, Mumbai
A Single Bench of Justice K. Lakshman stated that the role of a lawyer is like that of a “social engineer” who stands on behalf of the citizens and challenges illegal actions.
They address the grievances of their clients, and play an important role under Article 22 of the Constitution and Section 41(D) of CrPC that deal with the right of an arrested person to meet an Advocate of his choice during interrogation and post-arrest.
Thus, the Bench ruled that it is imperative to direct the concerned authorities to ensure that their movement is not restricted, subject to the following conditions:
i) The Advocates shall produce identity cards issued by either Bar Council or any Advocates Association registered with the Bar Council.
ii) The Advocate clerks, Stenographers/Typists of the Advocates shall produce certificate with photograph issued by the concerned Advocates certifying that they are their clerks/ stenographers/ typists.
iii) The Advocates, their clerks, Stenographers/ Typists shall strictly follow the guidelines issued by both the Central and State Governments with regard to COVID-19 Pandemic situation.
iv) All the Advocates, their clerks, Stenographers’ Typists shall not misuse the liberty granted to them in this order, keeping in view the present situation in the entire state of Telangana and country due to COVID-19, pandemic.
The order came days after the Telangana Government permitted Advocates to move from their Residence to Office and back for official purpose only between 2.00 PM till 5.00 PM, based on the e-Pass to be issued by concerned Commissioner(s) / Superintendent(s} of Police.
The Telangana High Court ordered, “The respondents are directed to issue necessary instructions to all the Police officers in the entire State. It is made clear that no officer of any authority including Police and Revenue etc. shall humiliate any of the Advocates on production of their identity cards issued by either Bar Council or Advocates Associations registered with the Bar Council, failing which it will be viewed seriously and action will be taken against the erring officers as per law.”
The direction draws inspiration from recent orders passed by the High Courts of Delhi and Kerala, permitting advocates and their clerks to travel to Courts during the lockdown, if physical sittings are notified, provided they carry an undertaking in the prescribed format with identity cards.