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The Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (BCTN) recently placed an advocate couple under suspension for unprofessional conduct, following a complaint that they had stopped the car of a Madras High Court judge and verbally abused the driver of the High Court judge’s car.
As per the complaint dated August 4, the first instance of professional misconduct occurred on the morning of July 30.
On the said date, Advocate L Shika Sarmadan and her husband, Advocate S Sahul Hameed are said to have forcibly overtaken the High Court judge’s car by “continuously blowing the horn and thereby creating a fear in the mind of the common people and the Hon’ble judge travelling in that car.“
As per the BCTN order, Advocate Sarmadan enrolled in 1999 whereas Advocate Hameed enrolled in 2001.
After overtaking the judge’s car, the duo is alleged to have stopped it to scold the driver “in a filthy language, knowing fully well that it is a Judge’s car and that a High court Judge was travelling in that car proceeding to the Madras High Court for official duty.“
As the “unfortunate and shocking incident” took place in a crowded road, the BCTN has expressed concern that the accused advocates have “damaged the faith and confidence of the people on the Honorable Judges and the judiciary as a whole.”
The complaint further discloses that the two advocates went to the judge’s residence on August 3 to verbally abuse the driver again, this time even going so far as to question the authority of the judge in front of the judge. This episode was also witnessed by many people. The BCTN concluded that,
“Prima facie, this would also amount to a professional misconduct.”
The complaint against the errant lawyers was made the following day by the Personnel Security Officer of the Judge.
Given their prima facie conclusion, the BCTN committee comprising of Chairman Vijay Narayan and Members R Singaravelan and N Chandrasekharan has passed an order of interim suspension on the two advocates, prohibiting them from practising in any Court, Tribunal or Quasi-judicial Tribunal within India until further orders.
The two advocates have been asked to submit their explanation for the complained episodes by August 21, i.e. 15 days from the date of the order. If no explanation is given, the matter is to be referred to a Disciplinary Committee for enquiry under Section 42 of the Advocates Act, 1961.
Read the order below.