23 Feb 2023 10:22 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court on Thursday took strong exception to the conduct of Members of Advocates Association of Mandya, which by passing a resolution has prevented its members from participating in programme and functioning of the District Legal Services Authority and also physically prevented people from attending Lok Adalat held in August, 2022.A division bench of Chief Justice Prasanna...
The Karnataka High Court on Thursday took strong exception to the conduct of Members of Advocates Association of Mandya, which by passing a resolution has prevented its members from participating in programme and functioning of the District Legal Services Authority and also physically prevented people from attending Lok Adalat held in August, 2022.
A division bench of Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Ashok S Kinagi orally told the counsel representing the association, “How can you justify your act? Is this the way? We expect better sense prevails over you.”
Senior Advocate Vikram Huilgol appearing for petitioner Karnataka State Legal Services Authority apprised the court about the incident of two panel advocates who did not adhere to the Associations warning having been suspended.
“All this action of yours (of Association), it is clearly on the face of it a disturbance in administration of justice,” said the court, adding, “We expect better sense prevails over you, otherwise we will take it seriously".
The bench also requested Senior Advocate S Basavaraj to advise the association members to resolve the issue.
“Please see that with proper coordination and word of advice of Senior members of the Bar Association, the situation becomes normal and no such incident happens. Element of unhappiness should not be there,” said the court.
The bench also observed that Lok Adalat is for the betterment of the public and not for anybody's personal interest.
“In Lok Adalat we have set a record in the country, Karnataka is leading in the country. Personally, I feel that the attempt of the Bar members should be to keep that record.” it said.
It posted the matter for further hearing on February 27.
The plea filed by Karnataka State Legal Services Authority states that the petitioner has issued a Standard Operating Procedure regarding empanelment of lawyers for Legal Services Institutions across the State.
Despite the issuance of the SOP, an alarming situation has arisen in Mandya, wherein the Advocates Association of the district has turned against the Mandya District Legal Services Authority and has threatened duly empanelled lawyers of the District Legal Services Authority to prevent them from discharging their statutory duty of representing their clients, with a view to serve its own vested interests, according to the plea.
“The Advocates Association, Mandya, has also suspended advocates who performed their duties to the MDLSA and has warned other advocates against participating in the Lok Adalats and other programmes of the MDLSA due to certain disagreements regarding the method of empanelment of lawyers. The acts of the members of the Mandya Advocates Association are opposed to the principles enshrined in the Constitution of India, as well as the law expounded by the Supreme Court of India, in addition to the mandate of the Advocates Act, 1961 and the Bar Council of India Rules,” the plea argues.
According to the petition, when the Lok Adalat was conducted on 13.08.2022, "members of the AAM, including Mr. M. T. Rajendra, Mr. Siddaraju, Mrs. M. Roopa, Mrs. H. N. Girijambike and Mrs. Rathi Kumari, physically prevented people from attending the Lok Adalat in the New Court Building, Mandya, and even turned away law students who had come to observe the proceedings.”
The training of mediators that was scheduled on 20.08.2022 and 21.08.2022 was also obstructed, the plea alleges.
The plea claims that this entire issue originated as certain ex-panel lawyers were not selected for the current term.
“The acts of the Advocates Association, Mandya, violate the rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 21 and 39A of the Constitution of India,” the KSLSA has argued.
The plea prays for directions to the State Government, Bar Council of India and the Karnataka State Bar Council to ensure that all the Advocates Associations across Karnataka strictly comply with the NALSA Regulations, 2010 as well as with the SOP framed by the Petitioner, in addition to all the other Rules and Regulations framed under the LSA Act, and take all measures necessary to ensure the same.
It also seeks directions for the Advocates Association (Regd.), Mandya to withdraw all resolutions/communications/notices issued to/against any panel lawyer/District Legal Service Authority prohibiting them from participating in the activities of the Mandya District Legal Services Authority.
Case Title: THE KARNATAKA STATE LEGAL SERVICES AUTHORITY And THE BAR COUNCIL OF INDIA.
Case No: WP 18297/2022
Appearance: Senior Advocate Vikram Huilgol for petitioner for Advocate Preetham Jude Correa.
Advocate Shridhar Prabhu for R1.
Advocate ANIL KUMAR R for R5.