In a letter addressed to the Bar Council of India, 81 advocates of the Madras Bar have criticized the Chairperson of Bar Council, Mr. Manan Kumar Mishra for issuing a press release on behalf of entire legal fraternity applauding the action of the government in obliterating the special status of J&K, on behalf of the entire legal fraternity.
The letter alleges that the Chairperson used the letterhead and stamp of the Bar Council of India to flourish his personal political agenda, which is an abuse of the office of Chairperson. It was also claimed that no meeting was held and neither any resolution was passed by the Council to authorize the Chairperson to release such a statement in his official capacity and thus the letter was released by misuse of his powers.
The letter also states that Bar Council of India has statutory limitations in making political statements. Last week, one of the members of BCI from Kerala Bar Council, Advocate Manoj Kumar, issued a statement clarifying that the Chairperson's statements were his personal views and cannot be regarded as BCI's official stand.
The letter raises serious concerns over "repressive measures" that were adopted in the state of J&K by detaining the political leaders, cessation of all forms of communication, including the press and alleges that the procedure adopted to abrogate Article 370 was, in their opinion, undemocratic.
The lawyers have claimed to owe their unbridled allegiance to the Constitution of India and have condemned the practice of bringing an amendment to the sacrosanct document by way of a Presidential Order. Many organizations like the All India Lawyers Union have also come to the forefront in resistance to the order, which clearly reflects the diversity of views that the advocates across the country hold, the letter stressed.
In light of these arguments, the Council has been urged to issue a clarification note stating that the Chairperson's views are his personal opinion and they do not reflect the entire legal fraternity's outlook. It has also been requested to ensure that the office of Chairperson does not overreach its powers.
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