Berating the fading ethics of a profession that once hosted its proceedings in a dignified manner, the Supreme Court found an advocate guilty of criminal contempt for intimidating and threatening a civil judge..A 3-judge Bench comprising Justices Anil R Dave, Kurian Joseph, and Adarsh Kumar Goel, upheld the decision of the Allahabad High Court convicting advocate Mahipal Singh Rana (appellant) of criminal contempt. The apex court also affirmed the direction of the High Court that Rana shall shall not be permitted to appear in courts in Etah district until he purges himself of contempt..Interestingly, the Court also called for overhaul of the Advocates Act to regulate the legal profession more effectively..Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand appeared for the Central government while advocate CD Singh represented the State of Uttar Pradesh. Bar Council of India was represented by advocate AK Prasad while the appellant was represented by advocates TN Singh, Vikas K Singh, and Rajashree Singh..The origin: Shouting and threatening a judge.The case began in 2003 when the Civil judge (Senior Division), Etah wrote two letters to the District judge, Etah and the Registrar General of Allahabad High Court detailing the conduct of Rana in his court on April 16, 2003..As per the two letters, the appellant had appeared in the court of the Civil judge and started threatening and shouting at him for passing an adverse order against his relative..Rana apparently said,.“How did you pass an order against my client in the case titled as “Kanchan Singh vs. Ratan Singh”? How did you dare pass such an order against my client? Kanchan Singh is my relative and how was this order passed against my relative? No Judicial Officer has, ever, dared pass an order against me. Then, how did you dare do so? When any Judicial officer passes an order on my file against my client, I set him right. I shall make a complaint against you to Hon’ble High Court.”.Rana, apparently, also boasted about his “criminal credentials” threatening the judge of physical harm if he passes any order against him..“I can do anything against you. I have relations with highly notorious persons and I can get you harmed by such notorious persons to the extent I want to do, and I myself am capable of doing any deed (misdeed) as I wish, and I am not afraid of any one.. In the Court compound, even my shoes are worshipped and I was prosecuted in two murder cases. And I have made murderous assaults on people and about 15 to 20 cases are going on against me. If you, in future, dare pass an order on the file against my client in which I am a counsel, it will not be good for you”, he is alleged to have shouted in open court..High Court registers contempt case.Based on the letters, the Allahabad High Court initiated contempt proceedings against Rana. After hearing the parties concerned, the High Court sentenced Rana to simple imprisonment of two months with a fine of Rs. 2,000 and in default of payment of the fine, a further imprisonment of 2 weeks..The High Court also directed the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh to consider the facts contained in the complaint of the Civil Judge (Senior Division) Etah and to initiate appropriate proceedings against the appellant for professional misconduct..Aggrieved by this judgment, Rana preferred an appeal to the Supreme Court..In the Supreme Court.Conviction upheld.The apex court upheld the conviction, as well as the direction by the High Court that the appellant advocate shall not be permitted to appear in courts in District of Etah until he purges himself of contempt. The court, however, set aside the sentence of imprisonment awarded to Rana taking into account his old age..In addition, the Supreme Court ordered that the enrollment of the appellant will stand suspended for two years..Inaction of Bar Councils.Most interestingly, the Court recorded the omission of the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh and the Bar Council of India to take any action against the contemnor despite a direction given by the High Court to that effect ten years ago..Consequently, the Court proceeded to exercise appellate jurisdiction under Section 38 of the Advocates Act, and directed that the licence of the appellant shall stand suspended for a further period of five years. He shall also remain debarred from appearing in any court in District Etah even after five years unless he purges himself of contempt in the manner laid down by the Supreme Court in RK Anand v. Registrar, Delhi High Court..Epilogue: If the Bar Council cannot cleanse the profession.The Court concluded its judgment with an epilogue about the state of legal profession. Importantly, the court seems to have resigned to the fact that the Bar Council of India and various State Bar Councils have been a failure in so far as regulating lawyers and maintaining the standards of profession are concerned..“Legal profession being the most important component of justice delivery system, it must continue to perform its significant role and regulatory mechanism and should not be seen to be wanting in taking prompt action against any malpractice. .We have noticed the inaction of the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh as well as the Bar Council of India inspite of direction in the impugned order of the High Court and inspite of notice to the Bar Council of India by this Court.”.It appears that the Court has now taken upon itself the task of setting things in motion towards redeeming legal profession. It has directed the Law Commission to review the Advocates Act, and also directed the Central government to file an affidavit after considering the report of the Law Commission..“…there appears to be urgent need to review the provisions of the Advocates Act dealing with regulatory mechanism for the legal profession and other incidental issues, in consultation with all concerned..…we request the Law Commission of India to go into all relevant aspects relating to regulation of legal profession in consultation with all concerned at an early date. We hope the Government of India will consider taking further appropriate steps in the light of report of the Law Commission within six months thereafter. The Central Government may file an appropriate affidavit in this regard within one month after expiry of one year.”.Read the full judgment below.