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After Publishing Scathing Remarks Against Young Advocate, BCI Withdraws Show-Cause Notice

Nilashish Chaudhary
27 May 2020 3:25 PM GMT
After Publishing Scathing Remarks Against Young Advocate, BCI Withdraws Show-Cause Notice
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The Bar Council of India (BCI) has recalled its Resolution to issue a show cause notice and initiate disciplinary action against advocate Suhasini Sen.

The show cause notice was proposed alleging that she was involved in the running of website "toplawyersofsupremecourtofindia.com", which was found to be advertising advocates contrary to BCI rules

After examining Sen's response,  the BCI said that it was satisfied that she was not aware of the existence of such a website or of her profile being posted on the same.

On May 20, the BCI had published the resolution against Sen in a press release, much to the shock and surprise of many members of the legal fraternity. That action of BCI had come under criticism, as there was no prior show-cause notice served on the young advocate, before the scathing remarks against her were published.

Now, the Council has opined that Sen's explanation is sufficient proof of her innocence. Accepting her explanation, the BCI said that it has decided to recall and withdraw the show cause notice issued to her.

BCI also took note of her 'decent' conduct, which has been considered to be worthy of appreciation.

"The Council has carefully examined and perused the reply of Ms. Suhasini Sen, Advocate and the documents attached to it.

Ms. Suhasini Sen, Advocate has stated in clear words and has furnished explanation that she has absolutely no concern with the website in question. She has also stated that she has issued a notice to Mr. Raahul Trivedi, Advocate through registered post asking him to remove her name from that website or any other website that might have been created by him (the copy of said notice has been annexed with the reply).

Ms. Suhasini Sen, Advocate has clarified her innocence on some electronic media also. Her language has been very decent and her conduct deserves appreciation too.

Accordingly, the Council has considered the issue afresh, under circulation, and upon re-looking the matter, the reply and explanation of Ms. Suhasini Sen, Advocate and considering the office report, is satisfied that she was not aware of any such website and of her profile being posted on such website, as her profile details published therein, was also available on common domain on internet, as explained by her, and, thus, the Council is of the opinion that Ms. Suhasini Sen, Advocate has had no role in the creation/publication/promotion of the offending website and/or of her profile being published therein", states the BCI.

It has been further clarified that the BCI's Resolution to issue a show cause notice and subsequently initiate proceedings is only valid for advocate Raahul Trivedi.

"…the name of Ms. Suhasini Sen, Advocate shall be omitted from the resolution…Ms. Suhasini Sen, Advocate has not done anything wrong", stated the BCI, absolving Sen of any perceived wrong doing.

BCI came under criticism for earlier press release

The Bar Council of India had, on May 20, come out with a press release against a website for indulging in advertisements of lawyers in violation of the BCI Rules. The subject of the controversy was the aforementioned website, a five-year old portal categorizing different lawyers of the SC as "1st Category Senior Advocates", "2nd Category Senior Advocates" and "3rd List (Good Junior Advocates)".

Without discussion of any evidence or material, the Council had identified two advocates - Rahul Trivedi and Suhasini Sen - as the ones prima facie behind the creation and promotion of the website. There was no discussion in the press release as to how the Council happened to zero in on these two names.

The BCI stated that they would be liable to be face disciplinary action, as the website engaged in illegal advertisement of lawyers.

BCI's Scathing Remarks Against Young Advocates In Press Release Without Prior Notice Comes Under Criticism

When LiveLaw had reached out to Suhasini Sen, she was completely caught unaware. She said that she had no association with the website in question.

"I have no part whatsoever in creating this website and have absolutely nothing to do with it. I was neither informed nor was my consent taken by whoever made this website. I would never do something like this. The information about me and the photograph placed on the website are available in the public domain in connection with a scholarship for further studies that I had received in 2012. I haven't yet received a show cause notice from the BCI, but I will reply to it as soon I receive it", she had said.

Slamming the BCI for selectively naming her out of several others who happened to be listed in the site, Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan  had said-

"There is no basis that is apparent as to how the Bar Council concluded that Ms. Suhasini Sen had anything to do with the website in question, and why her name was singled out from among the 24 other names mentioned on that page".

Sankaranarayanan had also called out the BCI for publicizing highly defamatory remarks against a junior member even before the issuance of a formal show-cause notice and an enquiry process.

"A cursory examination would show that the website is registered to a specific mobile number and address, which is in no way linked to Suhasini. It appears that a motivated complaint has been acted upon by the Bar Council without any evidence or basic principles of natural justice and they have taken the unusual step of inserting it in a press release, thereby publicly maligning her. The normal procedure is to issue a private show cause notice and elicit a response", he had told LiveLaw.

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