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The Supreme Court Monday said it was the responsibility of the judges, advocates and the court staff to maintain the integrity and sanctity of the judicial institutions.

All the functionaries, be it advocates, judges and the rest of the (court) staff ought to act in accordance with morals and ethics, said the apex court bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan in a judgment.

Speaking for the bench, Justice Sathasivam said that the duty of an advocate was as important as that of a judge and had a large responsibility towards the society.

The court said this while accepting an unconditional apology by advocates O.P. Sharma and others who were hauled up for contempt of court by the Punjab and Haryana High Court earlier.

The high court slammed them for shouting and using abusive language in the court of Rakesh Singh, civil judge, Faridabad, in Haryana Sep 11, 1999.

The apex court said that accepting an apology was an exception to the general rule.

In all professional functions, an advocate should be diligent and his conduct should conform to the requirements of the law by which an advocate plays a vital role in the preservation of society and justice system, the judgment said.

Justice Sathasivam said: An advocate should be dignified in his dealings to the court, to his fellow lawyers and to the litigants. He should have integrity in abundance and should never do anything that erodes his credibility. An advocate has a duty to enlighten and encourage the juniors in the profession.

An ideal advocate should believe that the legal profession has an element of service. Most importantly, he should faithfully abide by the standards of professional conduct and etiquette prescribed by the Bar Council of India, the judgment said.

While allowing the appeal, the court said: We hope and trust that the entire legal fraternity would set an example for other professionals by adhering to all the above-mentioned principles.

While accepting the apology of the advocates, the court also accepted the apology of a local newspaper which reported the incident.

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