Advocate Vishnu Sunil Panthalam has filed a plea before the Kerala High Court, urging the enactment of a law for the protection and safety of advocates [Adv. Vishnu Sunil Panthalam v State of Kerala & Ors.]. Panthalam contends that lawyers, who play a crucial role in upholding the country's laws, deserve legal recognition and safety.
Highlighting recent attacks on lawyers, including an assault at a Thiruvananthapuram court and an incident involving bouncers at a Kochi pub, the plea emphasizes the need for protective measures. Panthalam asserts that attacks on lawyers are not isolated incidents but assaults on the legal community as a whole.
"The frequent attacks on the members of this (legal) community can be seen only as attacks on the community as a whole. Moreover, it brings into the limelight the fact that the nature and importance of the role of the members of this community in the justice delivery system and public life have not been acknowledged," states the plea.
The representation sent to the State government on October 10 received no positive response, prompting Panthalam to approach the High Court. The petitioner points out the absence of protective laws for lawyers, contrasting with provisions for medical professionals and the police.
"When other professionals discharging duties of similar nature are recognized and provided with the necessary protection, the members of this community still continue to be unrecognized and neglected," the plea asserts.
Advocates Jomy K Jose and Jismin Jose represented the petitioner. The plea seeks the High Court's intervention to ensure the protection of lawyers and requests the court to direct the State authorities to consider the representation within a fixed timeframe.
This plea adds to the growing demand for legislation safeguarding lawyers, with cases reported in other High Courts, including Delhi and Rajasthan. Rajasthan became the first state to pass a law for lawyer protection in March, and the Bar Council of India (BCI) has called on the Union government to frame a nationwide law for advocate protection.
Author: Anushka Taraniya
News Writer, MIT ADT University