Madras HC Directs TN Bar Council to Initiate Disciplinary Action Against 7 Advocates [Read Order]
The Madras High Court Tuesday directed the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (BCTNP) to initiate disciplinary action against seven advocates involved in duplicate motor accident claims.
Taking a serious view of the involvement of lawyers and touts in the process of filing multiple insurance claims for an accident, the court had earlier appointed an expert body headed by retired judge K Chandru to inquire into the menace.
The court had appointed the body while hearing a petition filed by Cholamandalam MS General insurance company, seeking investigation into an alleged scam involving multiple compensation claims over a road accident death by presenting fabricated FIR copies.
The court had also asked the seven advocates -- V Velu, M Jeevanantham, N Azhakiyakumaran, Ramaa Radhakrishnan, N Shankar, S Natarajan and M Sivamani -- to appear before it and offer their explanation.
After going through the advocates' affidavits, Justice P N Prakash said, "It may have taken a K Parasaran or Fali S Nariman, years of hard work, toil and genuine practice, to reach their level of financial strength meritoriously."
"Here, in this jurisdiction, all you require, it seems, is knowledge of networking and contact, a corpus to invest and muscle power to exercise control over your territory and you are off on a financial joy ride to make easy money."
The court said that if the practitioners' adopted means were questionable, as they seemed to be, then, it was its duty to rein them in and retain the purity in the administration of justice.
The judge said the court was duty bound to take note lest these practices continue and the decay becomes irreparable.
"Conduct unbecoming of a professional deserves to be met forcefully, but that remains the turf of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (BCTNP), and therefore this court yields to the same, rather than arrogate it to itself. Institutional integrity commends it," he said.
Justice Prakash said a reading of the expert panel's interim report was vindication of the apprehension of the steep fall in the standards in the legal profession, meant to be a noble one.
Though the expert body has suggested that it may be a fit case to direct lodging of a police complaint against these advocates,the court was not inclined to do so, the judge said.
The judge, who said the expert body strongly recommended the suspension of the advocates, said the court refrained from doing so, and only issued show-cause notices and sought responses.
The court said the affidavits were read out loud by one another so that everyone knew what the stand of the advocates was.
"While the practitioners have the right to practice, they cannot be seen to be abusing the freedom or commercialise the same at the cost of the victims and tainting the very jurisdiction. It is singularly unfortunate and needs to be avoided," it said.
Justice Prakash then directed the BCTNP to initiate disciplinary action against the seven advocates in relation to their conduct and deal with the same as deemed fit by it in its disciplinary jurisdiction in accordance with law and file a compliance report.
The court also asked it to file a compliance report.