The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the Bar Council of India (BCI) and State Bar Councils to exercise caution while dealing with complaints made by litigants against lawyers [Jane Cox v. Bar Council of India & Anr.].Justices GS Patel and Dr Neela Kedar Gokhale urged the Bar Councils to first consider the genuineness or bona-fides of the complainants who make allegations against lawyers. The Court further expressed concern over a trend of litigants filing complaints against their opponent's lawyers."Both (Bar Council of India and Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa) should address first on the bonafides of the complainant. The trend now is that litigant files complaint against opponent lawyers. You do it against your own, I understand. But opponent?! They say the opponent lawyer said something I don’t like. Is it his job to look after your (complainant's) case?" Justice Patel orally remarked..The Court also highlighted cases where such complaints had caused mental trauma to lawyers and urged the Bar Council to consider the impact of such complaints on lawyers."Somewhere, we heard an Advocate on Record got clinical depression and could not practice for 6-8 months. One of our lawyers, who has a standing in the Bar, got a complaint against him. Why should his lawyer be traumatised like this?" the Court added..The Court was referring to an incident from earlier this month, where a litigant had written to the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa (BCMG) that the advocate for his opponent had made submissions contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court. The Court had reprimanded the litigant over his approach before giving him an opportunity to tender an unconditional apology, which the litigant eventually did.Referring to this case, the Court opined that the Bar Council ought to have first examined the complaint before sending out notices to lawyers. “The Bar Council should have read the complaint as well. What is the content and the allegations…” Justice Patel said..The division bench was hearing a writ petition filed by a lawyer against a complaint filed with BCMG in 2005. When the State Bar Council did not act on the complaint, the complainant had appealed before the Bar Council of India (BCI). The BCI then remanded the matter back to the State Bar Council for adjudication. However, the petitioner-lawyer approached the High Court with the present writ petition and got a stay on the BCMG proceedings in 2005 itself. In the meantime, the complainant passed away. .After taking note of this development today, the bench questioned the purpose of the complaint which was still pending before the BCMG. "What is the Bar Council going to do? The complainant has gone to his maker. Even if the State Bar hears the complaint every day, it will be adjourned. They will adjourn it saying 'call the complainant' who will not be there. So what remains to be argued. It is pending since long. Even Bar Council cannot serve notice to a dead person. I mean, there is only one way to do it!" the Court observed..The Court proceeded to adjourn the matter till next Tuesday for orders.