Kerala HC Stays BCI Letter Restraining AG CP Sudhakara Prasad From Chairing Trustee Committee Of The Kerala Advocates’ Welfare Fund
Kerala HC Stays BCI Letter Restraining AG CP Sudhakara Prasad From Chairing Trustee Committee of the Kerala Advocates’ Welfare Fund
The Kerala High Court, on Wednesday, stayed a recent communication by the Bar Council of India (BCI) restraining Advocate General of the State of Kerala Mr. CP Sudhakara Prasad from acting as the Ex officio Chairman of the Trustee Committee of the Kerala Advocates’ Welfare Fund.
According to BCI, it was informed of efforts being made to tamper with original papers and materials at the office of the State Bar Council of Kerala, in the midst of an ongoing investigation into the alleged fund misappropriation from Advocates Welfare Fund in the State . It was blamed that “ ruling party people” were attempting to hush up the matter.
BCI letter says, “The apprehension is that since Mr. C.P. Sudhakar Prasad is himself been the Chairman of the Trustee Committee during the relevant period and is also under the clouds, the major part of the misappropriation occurred during his Chairmanship and therefore, the Lawyers are apprehending that the Police and the Vigilance authorities are being misused in order to save the real culprits and are trying to take away the relevant papers to help the accused persons”
It then requests the Attorney General of India to nominate someone to the post of the Chairman of the Special Committee for the State of Kerala as well as the Advocates’ Welfare Trustee Committee. The Special Committee has further been requested to keep all original papers relating to the matter in safe custody.
Restraining Mr. Prasad from holding the post, it further states, “The Advocate General, who is the Chairman of the Special Committee of Bar Council of Kerala is hereby restrained from discharging any function as the Chairman of the Special Committee or as the Chairman of the Advocate Welfare Trustee Committee and the functions of the Chairman (as stated above) would be discharged by the nominee of the Attorney General for India.”
Challenging this letter, Mr. Prasad immediately filed a Writ Petition in the Kerala High Court pointing out that the Kerala Advocates’ Welfare Fund and its Trustee Committee is the creation of Welfare Fund Act, and hence, the BCI has no legal authority or right to interfere in the affairs of the Welfare Fund. Mr Prasad had also annexed a letter issued to him by Attorney General of India Mr . K K Venugopal through which latter had clarified certain statement said to have attributed to him .
Mr Prasad contended that the impugned communication is “highly arbitrary, motivated, authoritarian and illegal”, and has been issued with the intention of maligning Mr. Prasad. He alleges, “The statements made in Ext-P3 are malicious, mischievous and highly irresponsible. Those statements are based on no materials whatsoever. Those are bad in taste, tone, tenor and content.
The respondents are totally unjustified in making such irresponsible, unjustified and unwarranted statements, which tend even to castigate the petitioner without any justification whatsoever.”
He further asserts that it was the Special Committee headed by him as the Chairman which had ordered the conduct of audit of the Welfare Fund accounts, finally enabling the discovery of misappropriations.
The petition in fact claims that the letter was issued at the volition of BCI Chairman Mr. Manan Kumar Mishra alone and not at the instance of BCI. It goes on to allege that the origin of the impugned letter can be traced to those with vested interests, who want to take over the Kerala Bar Council. Pointing towards a “larger conspiracy” being at play here, it says that the BCI is “explicitly party” to it.
Mr. Prasad has therefore demanded a direction to the BCI to not interfere with his functioning as the Chairman of the Special Committee of the Bar Council of Kerala as well as the Chairman of the Trustee Committee of the Kerala Advocates Welfare Fund. Additionally, the petition also demands a direction to call for records relating to the impugned BCI communication and quash the same.