The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday issued show cause notices for contempt to online portals carrying out advertisements and soliciting for lawyers, despite explicit directions of the high court to desist from such activities.
"Issue notice to respondents no. 1 to 15 to show cause as to why the proceedings for contempt of the Court be not initiated against them for non-compliance of the judgment and order dated 12.12.2019 passed in Writ Petition No.23328 (MB) of 2018," Justice Abdul Moin directed in a contempt petition filed by lawyer Yash Bhardwaj.
Rule 36 and 37 of the Code of Ethics formulated by the Bar Council of India under the Advocates Act, 1961, prohibits advertising, touting and solicitation of work by lawyers.
Citing the same, the high court had in a writ petition titled Yash Bharadwaj v. Union of India, WP No. 23328/2018 (MB), issued interim directions restraining online portals like 'myadvo', 'justdial', 'lawrato' etc., from soliciting work on behalf of lawyers.
The order passed in December, 2019 read,
"we pass an interim order to the effect that the opposite parties would not indulge in the practices opposed to Rule 2, 36 & 37 of the Bar Council of India Rules. Rule 36 provides for certain restrictions on the Advocates and accordingly whatever restrictions have been imposed therein, would apply on all the opposite parties till further hearing. They are restrained to act in violation of Rules 2, 36 & 37 of Bar Council of India Rules."
The Petitioner had contended that since no rules have been prescribed to regulate the blatant advertisement by the practicing advocates, individual lawyers are taking recourse to advertise themselves which in turn reduces the integrity of the entire community of lawyers in the eyes of the public.
He had also submitted that lawyers enlisted with such websites/portals are not their employees because had they been their employees, then they would not have been entitled to practice which is prohibited as per Rule 49 of the Code of Ethics formulated under Section 49 (1) (c) of the Act. Furthermore, even sharing the remuneration or any other similar arrangement is violative of Rule 2 formulated by respondent No.2 under Section 49 (1) (ah) of the Act.
During the course of hearing of the writ petition, the Bar Council of India had informed the Court that a five members Committee was constituted to look into the complaints of the Petitioner.
The Petitioner was represented by Advocates Sagar Singh and Rahul Kumar
Click Here To Download Order Dated 12.12.2019
Click Here To Download Order On Contempt