Bar council’s call for stir on panel report a cruel joke for suspended TN lawyers

Team SoOLEGAL 13 Apr 2017 11:00am

Bar council’s call for stir on panel report a cruel joke for suspended TN lawyers

In what seems like a cruel twist of fate for lawyers in Tamil Nadu, the Bar Council of India (BCI), which last year suspended nearly 150 lawyers in the state for various acts of "unruliness" like laying siege to Bar council and courts, has now called upon the legal fraternity to participate in a similar protest. It has urged lawyers to gherao Parliament, burn the report of the Law Commission of India, fill jails and lay siege to Law Commission of India's office.

BCI has declared war on the law commission's 266th report that recommends sweeping reforms in Bar councils as well as in rules for lawyers. While not a single member of the legal fraternity is willing to accept the report, the BCI's decision to gherao Parliament and burn the commission's report is being mocked by lawyers in Tamil Nadu.

"We had also burned copies of the code of conduct for lawyers and gheraoed the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry as well as the Madras high court. As a result, more than 150 lawyers were suspended from practice in courts and tribunals," says K Muthuramalingam, who is serving his suspension since November 2015.

Twenty-five lawyers are still serving suspension, from among 44 suspended in four batches. Another batch of 126 was suspended for laying siege to high court, but it was revoked as part of a compromise.

"How could the BCI, which punished scores of lawyers for burning copies, remaining absent from court and laying siege to Bar council office last year, exhort the legal fraternity to do the same, that too without even revoking the suspension of lawyers who took up similar public causes earlier?" asks Muthuramalingam.

The April 10 resolution of the BCI lays down "agitation programmes", stressing that on April 16 all bar associations must initiate a signature campaign against the law commission report. The council has urged all lawyers to assemble outside their respective court promises during the lunch break and burn copies of the report on April 21. The council has also planned to take out a rally in New Delhi on May 2. If the demands are still not accepted, there will be jail bharo (fill jail) campaigns. On its agenda is also gheraoing the office of the Law Commission of India and Parliament.

Asked whether it is proper for the statutory body to call for such a protest including laying siege to the Parliament and burning the report by another statutory body, D Selvam, former chairman of Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry says, "We are opposing the report in toto. I will lead a delegation of Bar leaders and lawyers to the governor to present a memorandum demanding immediate recall of the contentious recommendations of the Law Commission of India."

Co-chairman of BCI S Prabakaran, however, says that they are not against the government and that they will meet MPs from all parties to mobilise support to drop the "draconian recommendations".

Source: TOI
Tagged: BCI   Bar council   lawyers in Tamil Nadu   the Bar Council of India (BCI)  
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