Violence against lawyers now punishable

09:41 AM Jun 13, 2024 | Team Udayavani |

The long-standing demand of the state’s legal community has been fulfilled with the enactment of the “Karnataka Prohibition of Violence against Lawyers Act-2023,” aimed at protecting lawyers from violence and harassment.


The state government published a gazette notification on June 10, bringing the Act into immediate effect. The legislation prohibits any form of assault, obstruction, threat, or harassment against lawyers while they perform their professional duties. Violators will face severe penalties, including imprisonment for six months to three years and fines up to Rs. 1 lakh. In some cases, both imprisonment and fines can be imposed.

Key Provisions of the Act

Protection of Professional Duties: Advocates are entitled to perform their professional functions and duties without intimidation, obstruction, harassment, or undue interference.

Freedom of Movement and Consultation: Lawyers should be able to travel freely both domestically and internationally and consult with their clients without hindrance.


Government Assurance: The government must ensure that lawyers do not suffer from or fear administrative, financial, or other sanctions for actions taken in accordance with recognized professional duties, standards, and ethics.

Security Assurance: Authorities are required to protect advocates when their security is threatened while performing their duties.

Objective: The primary goal of the Act is to protect lawyers from violence, ensuring they can render their professional services without fear or external influence.

Background and Demand for the Act

The push for such legislation gained momentum in 2020 after multiple incidents of assault on lawyers were reported across the country, including in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh. The legal community, particularly in Karnataka, strongly advocated for a protective act. Organizations such as the Bangalore Lawyers’ Association played a crucial role in drawing the government’s attention to the issue.

In response, a committee was formed by the Bangalore Bar Association to draft the bill. Senior lawyers Uday Holla, CH. Hanumantaraya, A.S. Ponnanna, and D.R. Ravi Shankar were involved in drafting the bill in 2021. The draft was submitted to the government under the leadership of then-president A.P. Ranganath. The current president, Viveka Subtareddy, continued to advocate for the bill.

The draft bill was prepared in 2023 and presented during the Belgaum session in December 2023. It was approved in the budget session held in February 2024, and the Governor gave his assent on March 20. The gazette notification officially implementing the Act was published on June 10, 2024.

This new legislation marks a significant step towards ensuring the safety and security of lawyers in Karnataka, allowing them to perform their duties without fear of violence or harassment.


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