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The Bar Council of India (BCI) has suspended 15 lawyers in Tamil Nadu allegedly involved in the violence that transpired at the Madras High Court.
The decision was taken by the BCI after it received the names of errant advocates from the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and the Registrar General of the Madras High Court.
The suspension order was issued on September 22. Initially, the BCI had also constituted a committee to conduct disciplinary proceedings against the 15 errant lawyers. Subsequently, the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu informed the BCI that it has fixed an emergency meeting for September 24 and was likely to take a decision in this regard.
The BCI has, therefore, directed the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu to hold disciplinary proceedings against the 15 errant lawyers. It has also conveyed that if the State Bar Council does not conclude the disciplinary proceedings within a month, the matter will automatically stand transferred to the BCI. Meanwhile, the suspension of lawyers will remain in place.
In its letter to the Tamil Nadu Bar Council, the BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra has also lamented at the fall in standards of the profession.
“We are aware that because of the abnormal increase in the number of lawyers, it is becoming very difficult to maintain the standard of profession. But it is also a fact that most of the State Bar Councils are very slow in punishing the advocates even in cases of gross professional misconduct. The number of non-practising advocates and the number of persons with fake and forged certificates (posing themselves as lawyers) is increasing day by day.
The Bar Council of India has taken notice of the fact that after getting enrolled, the lawyers don’t provide any information to the State Bar Councils or the Bar Council of India about their antecedents, criminal cases lodged, if any, against them or leaving the practice and joining some other private jobs, business, contracts, property dealing or any other occupation. In a survey, the Council found that the number of such non-practising and farzi lawyers has increased to such an extent that they are playing a vital role even in the constitution of Bar Associations and Bar Councils.”
Last week, things went out of hand at the High Court, with two agitations of varying levels of intensity disrupting proceedings. On Monday, a group of advocates accompanied by children held a sit-in protest in Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul’s court, to make Tamil the official court language.
Later that day, Chief Justice Kaul would order the state government to provide CRPF protection on campus, fearing the safety of judges in light of recent events.
Then on Wednesday, pandemonium erupted at the High Court campus, with advocates from Madurai holding an agitation for not being allowed to witness proceedings in a suo motu contempt action against two advocates.
The incidents in Madras had caught the attention of the Supreme Court with Senior Advocate KK Venugopal appealing to the Chief Justice of India to look into the matter and take action. The CJI had then proceeded to lambast the Bar Associations in the Madras High Court.
BCI order dated September 22:
Read BCI Chairman’s letter to Tamil Nadu Bar Council Chairman: