In a representation made to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, 800 lawyers have requested suspension, expressing solidarity with the ongoing protests against Madras High Court’s new sets of disciplinary rules for the Advocates. The new rules enable the Court to debar lawyers who indulge in objectionable behavior.
The lawyers, led by Senior Counsel R. Vaigai, further demanded that suspension orders passed against 176 Advocates since 2015 be revoked, and the five lawyers arrested for participating in Monday’s protests be released.
Bail applications moved by the five lawyers were dismissed by the VII Metropolitan Magistrate on Wednesday. An appeal filed before the Principal Sessions Court, Chennai was also dismissed by District Session Judge Jaichandran.
The representation was preceded by an Extra General Body meeting convened on Wednesday, wherein the Madras High Court Advocates’ Association demanded that no criminal action be initiated against the lawyers who participated in the “peaceful agitation” on July 25, and that the arrested lawyers be released. It further resolved that all suspension orders and disciplinary proceedings passed by the BCI and the State Bar Council during 2015-16 be withdrawn unconditionally.
The Association has also demanded that all pending FIRs against the Advocates be withdrawn by the Government of Tamil Nadu.
The Madras High Court Advocates Association had earlier, in a unanimous resolution, expressed its “deep” concerns about the newly introduced amendments. The Association, in its resolution had said that these amendments “constitute a serious threat to the independence of the legal profession and will prevent advocates from discharging their duties without the constant fear that any emphatic and assertive argument will result in a judge terming it as “browbeating” leading to their debarment.”
The Chief Justice of Madras High Court had then assured BCTP that no action would be taken against advocates in furtherance of the Advocates Act, till a decision is taken on the recommendations put forth by the Bar Associations. You may read the LiveLaw article here.
Soon after, a full Court meeting of the High Court of Madras held on July 21 had resolved to receive representations regarding the new Rules from recognized Bar Associations, either directly or through the Registrar General of Madras High Court or through the principal District Judge concerned.
The BCI had however issued a warning to the leaders and office bearers of more than 250 lawyers’ associations in Tamil Nadu, that they would be suspended and debarred from contesting in Bar elections if they fail to call off the strike by July 22. This warning was given effect to by suspending 126 lawyers of Tamil Nadu, including 21 Bar leaders. You may read the LiveLaw article here.