New Delhi: Lawyers in the northern states, including the capital, on Monday went on a day-long strike in the district courts demanding withdrawal of the proposed changes in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) that gives police the discretion to arrest the accused in an offence punishable upto 7 year jail term.
This is the third time that lawyers’ bodies have observed a strike within two weeks in the national capital. They had earlier been on strike on 7 and 14 January.
“There is complete strike in all northern states including Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh,” Co-ordination Committee All Bar Association of Delhi spokesman Rajiv Khosla said.
“Lawyers abstained from appearing in the courts while the cases listed for today were being adjourned,” he said.
A Federation of Bar Associations formed to launch a “unified protest” against the changes in the statute had already announced nationwide strikes on 3 and 18 February to press for their demands.
The bar leaders fear that the proposed amendment doing away with the mandatory arrest provisions in the offences punishable upto seven years would remove fear from minds of criminals who would misuse the provisions under the garb of personal liberty.
According to the proposed amendments in the Act, which had received the President’s assent, no arrest would be required for cognisable offences such as molestation, dowry harassment and attempt to robbery, prescribing maximum punishment of seven years’ jail term.
Even if the bill bringing the changes in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) had got the President’s nod, the Government can still stall the legislation by not enacting it, Khosla said, terming it as “anti-people” and “anti-social”.