The Madras High Court has directed Bar Council of India (BCI) to revoke within a week the suspension of a Madurai-based advocate for alleged misconduct, while making it clear that its order was only limited to his case.
The division bench comprising justices V Ramasubramanian and N Kirubakaran before which a petition by M Thirunavukkarasu challenging BCI’s suspension order came up on Thursday, said it was true that suspension of a person in employment stands on a different footing than professionals.
This employee was entitled to get a portion of salary or wages as subsistence allowance. A professional does not have such a benefit, the judges said.
Similarly, one in employment was entitled for compensation in monetary terms if disciplinary proceedings went in his favour. This cannot happen in the case of a professional.
The judges said they realised that suspension of a professional was much harsher than that of a person in employment. “But unfortunately, the conduct that is expected of a professional is also of a higher order.”
A factory worker or last grade government servant, guilty of a particular type of misconduct (other than corrupt practice) may receive a lesser penalty than one holding a high office.
Therefore, the comparison sought to be made cannot stop only with the suffering, but the extent of conduct also, they said.
The judges pointed out the suspension order was passed on September 22, 2015. Five months has elapsed since then.
BCI, Delhi, in its September 22 orderhad come down hard on some lawyers from Tamil Nadu for storming into courtrooms, shouting slogans against judges and going on strike and suspended 15 advocates, including Secretary of Madurai Bar Association A K Ramasamy, and its president P Dharmaraj, who are facing contempt proceedings.
The order said the lawyers are suspended from practice and during the suspension period, would be debarred from practice in any court or before any authority or person in India.
It is against this order that Thirunavukkarasu, former president of Madurai Bench of Madras High Court Advocates Association, moved court.
“The writ petition is disposed of, directing Bar Council of India to revoke the order of suspension passed against the petitioner within a week of receipt of a copy of this order.”
“We make it clear that we are not interfering with the disciplinary proceedings as they are also not under challenge before us. We also make it clear that by this order we have dealt only with the case of the petitioner before us and not others,” the judges said.
( Source – PTI )