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Breaking: BCI Decides To Keep In Abeyance 'Criticism-Disqualification Rules' For Review

Sparsh Upadhyay
30 Jun 2021 12:46 PM GMT
Breaking: BCI Decides To Keep In Abeyance Criticism-Disqualification Rules For Review
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The Bar Council of India has decided to formulate a committee to review the recently inserted Sections V and V-A of Chapter II of Part VI of the Bar Council of India Rules and has decided to keep the rules in abeyance till the report is received.The said rule of the Bar Council of India (notified vide notification dated June 26) states:"An Advocate shall conduct himself/herself as...

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The Bar Council of India has decided to formulate a committee to review the recently inserted Sections V and V-A of Chapter II of Part VI of the Bar Council of India Rules and has decided to keep the rules in abeyance till the report is received.

The said rule of the Bar Council of India (notified vide notification dated June 26) states:

"An Advocate shall conduct himself/herself as a gentleman/gentle lady in his/her day to day life and he/she shall not do any unlawful act, he/she shall not make any statement in the Print, Electronic or Social Media, which is indecent or derogatory, defamatory or motivated, malicious or mischievous against any Court or Judge or any member of Judiciary, or against State Bar Council or Bar Council of India."

The notification issued today states that the Council has resolved to constitute a Committee to review the Rules and the Chairman has been authorized to constitute the Committee.

"The Committee shall consist of some senior Advocates, representatives of State Bar Councils and High Court and other Bar Associations, besides five Members of Bar Council of India. The Committee shall be requested to submit its report within 3 weeks. Thereafter, the Council will proceed to act in accordance with the provisions of Advocates Act, 1961," added the notification.

Justifying its decision to bring the rules, the Council has said that the object of such the Rule was/is to improve the standard of the Profession and to "weed out black sheep from the Profession".

Further, the Council has said that the Supreme Court, on several occasions has directed Bar Council of India to take steps for weeding out undeserving elements from ie Bar and therefore, the Bar Council of India was/is under an obligation to frame rules for strengthening the profession.

Importantly, the notification also avers:

"No prudent and real Advocate would oppose such steps of Bar Council of India; And only those who are not in active practice, but, always indulge in nasty and nefarious activities and have been maligning the image of the profession raise a hue and cry when meaningful steps are taken to preserve the dignity of the profession. Some people are in the habit to object to each and every reformative step, but, Bar Council of India is not going to succumb to any such undue pressure"

The Rules had drawn widespread criticism from the legal fraternity as curbing the fundamental right to speech of advocates. Petitions were filed in few High Courts challenging the Rules.

The Himachal Pradesh High Court yesterday disposed of a plea 'as withdrawn', which challenging the recently inserted Sections V and V-A of Chapter II of Part VI of the Bar Council of India Rules as unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14, 19 (1) (a), and 21.

The Bar Council of India earlier today submitted before the Kerala High Court that the new Rules which prohibits criticism and dissent against the BCI and other Bar Councils are yet to get the approval of the Chief Justice of India as per the proviso to Section 49 of the Advocates Act and have therefore not taken effect.

The Single Bench of Justice P.B. Suresh Kumar was hearing a petition seeking a declaration that the recently inserted Sections V and V-A of Chapter II of Part VI of the Bar Council of India Rules are unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14, 19 (1) (a), and 21.

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