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Karnataka HC Questions State's Commitment to Protect Lawyers After Assault on Young Advocate in Chikmagalur

Recently, the Karnataka High Court raised concerns about the seriousness of the State government in enacting laws to safeguard lawyers from violence, following an incident where certain police officers attacked a young lawyer in Chikmagalur.

During the Court proceedings, Advocate General Shashi Kiran Shetty reassured the Court that the State was actively considering the matter, mentioning that a bill aimed at safeguarding lawyers was awaiting deliberation in the Legislative Assembly.

The Chief Justice PB Varale and Justice Krishna Dixit's bench agreed that the State government's responsibility in passing the law. Nevertheless, the Court expressed its concern that despite a pending bill, it would merely be a "printed piece of paper" unless it is implemented and formally becomes law.

It will be used only for pani puri. Unless you put it in a certain place and it is passed. Justice Dixit orally observed.

The Court took up a suo motu case prompted by a representation from the Advocate Association of Bengaluru. The association expressed concern over an incident wherein a lawyer was assaulted by the police for not wearing a helmet while riding a two-wheeler.

The incident prompted numerous lawyers to stage a protest outside the police station where the attack occurred. In recent hearing, a lawyer requested the Court to issue directives mandating that the police inform a lawyers' association whenever an advocate is arrested while performing their duties. This measure would enable inquiries into the reasons behind the arrest of the lawyer.

The Court decided against issuing immediate directives, citing the pending status of the lawyers' protection bill in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly. Yet, the bench encouraged the lawyers to submit a representation regarding this matter to the relevant forum. This way, their concerns could potentially be included in the forthcoming law.

Additionally, the Court was informed that the six responsible police officers had been suspended in relation to the incident. Despite the heightened emotions among the lawyers following the attack on their colleague, the Court advised them against boycotting court proceedings, urging them to continue their work.

The matter will be heard next on December 5.

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