The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court has directed the Bar Council of India (BCI) to take a decision within a week on a plea seeking to transfer the disciplinary proceedings against 14 lawyers of the Madurai Bar suspended by the Council to Bengaluru.
A division bench, comprising Justice R.Sudhakar and Justice V M Velumani, gave the direction on a PIL by one M Moahamed Rafi seeking a direction to restore the disciplinary proceedings against the advocates to Karnataka State Bar Council, as originally proposed by BCI.
The petitioner had also prayed to the court to quash the October 12 last order of Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (BTCP) rejecting his request that the inquiry be conducted by the Bar Council of Karnataka.
The bench said the interim injunction granted by it on October 26 restraining the Special Disciplinary Committee (SDC), set up by BTCP, from going ahead with its proceedings against the lawyers would continue till BCI took a decision.
“The Bar Council of India, we hope, would dispose of the matter within a period of one week from the date of receipt of a copy of this order,” the bench said.
The matter related to the suspension of 14 advocates by the BCI vide its September 22 last order for storming court rooms and shouting slogans against judges of the high court bench in Madurai.
The BCI had also asked the Karnataka Bar Council to set up a disciplinary committe to proceed against the advocates. But it later modified the order and allowed BTCP to conduct the inquiry.
Challenging the BCI order, the petitioner claimed two of the SDC members were close friends of two of the suspended lawyers and several lawyers of the BCTP were openly supporting the errant lawyers.
In response to the PIL, the BTCP submitted that as the order to conduct the inquiry in Tamil Nadu itself was accepted and passed by BCI, it had no power to change the place of inquiry. The BCI alone had the power to change the place, it added.
Hence, the division bench directed the BCI to take a decision within a week.