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Disciplinary Action Against Lawyers By Bar Council: SC Refuses To Interfere With Karnataka HC Order Dismissing Plea

“Why did you file a PIL,” inquired Chief Justice Dipak Misra on Friday, as an SLP preferred against a January 8 order of the Karnataka High Court dismissing a writ petition seeking the writ of certiorari and the quashing of three notifications issued by the Karnataka State Bar Council taking disciplinary action against five advocates came up for hearing.

By the impugned notifications, the State Bar Council had reprimanded one advocate, suspended two advocates for a period of one year and suspended two other advocates pending the disciplinary proceedings.

Advocate HR Vishwanath (party-in-person), arguing in support of the said writ petition, had submitted before the high court that the term of office of the Karnataka State Bar Council had expired on January 27, 2017 and therefore, the Special Committee constituted under the  Advocates Act, was illegal. Consequently, the notifications impugned in the writ petition were unsustainable in law.

Dismissing the petition, the high court had noted, “Admittedly, the main relief sought is to set aside the Notifications issued by the Bar Council of Karnataka taking disciplinary action against five advocates. Therefore, we see no public interest in this writ petition. Resultantly, this writ petition fails…”

A Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice AM Khanwilkar on Friday observed, “We are not inclined to interfere with the High Court’s order…however, liberty is granted to the petitioner to seek redressal of the grievance, proceeding in accordance with the law.”

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