This is a good judgment from Madras High Court which held that, a Magistrate can dispense with appearance of accused in a criminal case on first appearance itself, if accused is represented by an Advocate and supported by reasonable excuse.
Beautiful articulation of fact situation on the ground
From Para 15,
Ajay Kumar Bisnoi and Anr Vs MS KEI Industries Limited on 25 September 2015
15. However, this Court is much concerned if the counsel who is permitted to represent the petitioners/accused is absent on the ground of boycott. In such circumstances, the Court below is at liberty to proceed in accordance with law. Persons belonging to the legal profession are concededly the elite of the society. They have always been in the vanguard of progress and development of not only law but the polity as a whole. Citizenry looks at them with hope and expectations for traversing on the new paths and virgin fields to be marched on by the society. The profession by and large, till date has undoubtedly performed its duties and obligations and has never hesitated to shoulder its responsibilities in larger interests of mankind. The lawyers, who have been acknowledged as being sober, task-oriented, professionally-responsible stratum of the population, are further obliged to utilise their skills for socio-political modernisation of the country. The lawyers are a force for the preservance and strengthening of constitutional government as they are guardians of the modern legal system. But now-a-days, unfortunately, strikes, boycott calls and even unruly are becoming a frequent spectacles and boycotting the Courts by Advocates has come a regular feature in this state and almost throughout a year, one section or the other of the members of the Bar abstain from Courts and thereby making this Chartered High Court into shattered position. No Advocate has a right to abstain from Court without first returning the briefs to his clients and refunding the fees received from them. It is well known that several clients are paying through their nose by borrowing heavily to their advocates and it is a matter of life and death for them. Advocates who are boycotting the Courts for one cause of so, should not ignore the fact that there have been several causes before the Courts pending for disposal and their act of boycotting would lead to a travesty of justice and destroy the basic democracy, which would tantamount to failure of administration of justice. Failure of a lawyer to attend to his case in Court would not only be breach of contract and breach of trust, but also professional misconduct.
In such circumstances, this Court feels it appropriate to make the following:
i) No advocate has right to stall the court proceedings on the ground that advocates have decided to strike or to boycott the courts or even boycott any particular court. With the strike by the lawyers, the process of court intended to secure justice is obstructed which is unwarranted under the provisions of the Advocates Act.
ii) It is always open to the litigants to claim damages and also to move the Consumer forum for appropriate compensation and for damages that had caused to them by theirs Advocates by not representing the matters in Courts;
ii) No Advocate shall be permitted to represent the matter without robes (dress-code) on boycott day;
iii) The Courts below shall record the non-apperance of the Advocates due to boycott in the listed case proceedings and proceed with the matters on merits;
iv) After recording such non-apperance of the Advocates, the Courts below shall report the same to the Bar Council of India for appropriate action and it would facilitate the litigants to pursue the matter with the Bar Council of India.
The Registry is directed to issue a copy of this order to all the subordinate Courts dealing with civil and criminal matters.
Other Source links: https://indiankanoon.org/doc/117608503/