Saturday, July 31, 2010

Lawyers can complain if forced by Bar to withdraw from case

Lawyers can complain if forced by Bar to withdraw from case

Friday, July 30, 2010, 22:02

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today said that complaints can be lodged to District Judges and Chief Justices of High Courts against the members of the Bar for forcing lawyers to withdraw themselves from defending the accused in terror cases.
The apex court termed as a "law and order" problem the practise of compelling the lawyers to dissociate themselves from any cases including the terror-related cases by coercion and inducement.

"This is a law and order problem. You can go for redressal to District Judge who will forward your complaint to the Chief Justice of a particular High Court for appropriate action," a Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar said.
The Bench was hearing a PIL filed in 2008 alleging that State Bar Associations and other lawyers' bodies in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra have passed resolutions that members of the bar would not defend the accused in terror cases, particularly those involved in serial blasts cases of 2006.

The Bench said the apex court cannot control the members of the Bar in such type of situation and the best recourse available was to approach the District Judge through a letter bringing to his/her notice about such incidents.
"You can write to the Chief Justice of the High Court and also the District Judge on the administrative side for taking actions," the Bench said.
The Bar Council of India, which was asked to come out with guidelines to stop such incidents, submitted its proposed steps saying that the Chairman of the State Bar Council can ask the advocates to desist from such action on receiving a such complaint.
Further, in case the concerned advocate/advocates or any Bar Association does not cease and desist from action, then the issue would be referred to the Disciplinary Committee of the respective state Bar association.
The state Bar council will have to forward the complaints to the BCI.
Taking the proposed steps of BCI on record, the Bench disposed of the petition.

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