27 Dec 2021 3:57 PM GMT
The Bar Council of Tamilnadu and Puducherry has provisionally barred the practice of Advocate N. Muniasamy, who is the President of the Kamuthi Bar Association for his alleged misbehavior with a woman Court Staff within the Court premises in April 2021.He has been barred from practicing as an advocate in all Courts, Tribunals, and other authorities in India either in his name or in any...
The Bar Council of Tamilnadu and Puducherry has provisionally barred the practice of Advocate N. Muniasamy, who is the President of the Kamuthi Bar Association for his alleged misbehavior with a woman Court Staff within the Court premises in April 2021.
He has been barred from practicing as an advocate in all Courts, Tribunals, and other authorities in India either in his name or in any assumed name till the disposal of Disciplinary proceedings pending against him.
This decision of the State Bar Council comes in the backdrop of an order of the Madras High Court dated December 16, wherein the HC had referred Advocate Muniasamy's matter to the Bar Council for initiating appropriate disciplinary action against him.
The case background
Essentially, the matter came to light when a lawyer practising in the Judicial Magistrate cum District Munsif Court, Kamuthi, S.Ramanathan moved the High Court seeking a direction tregiter his complaint against Advocate Muniyasamy for his misbehavior with the lady staffer.
He alleged in his plea that a lady Court staff was sexually assaulted between 3.00 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. in the afternoon in the Court premises by Advocate Muniyasamy, the President of Kamuthi Advocates Association.
He further claimed that he took up the matter with the in-charge Magistrate and he also spoke to some of the fellow lawyers for initiating action against the Bar President, however, instead of acting on the petitioner's request, the petitioner was implicated in a case for the offence under Section 294(b) of I.P.C.
Court seeks report of the incident
Hearing the matter, the bench of Justice G. R. Swaminathan called for a report from the Principal District Judge, Ramanathapuram, who had submitted that in the third week of April 2021 the victim/lady staffer had sought her transfer alleging that she was being disturbed by Advocate Muniyasamy.
Based on her request, she was transferred to another Court and when she appeared before the GSICC Committee, she confirmed that the allegations made by her in her complaint were true, however, since she had already been transferred to another Court, she did not want to pursue the matter against him.
Therefore, based on the recommendation of the Committee, the complaint was closed. The report of the District Court Judge also stated that that the occurrence was captured in the CCTV and the footage is very much available.
Court's observations and order
Averring that the allegations are extremely serious and that the matter concerns the safety of a woman employee and the sanctity of the court, the Court emphasized that while the complainant/victim may not want to pursue the matter, the Court cannot be a mute spectator to the incident.
"Here is a case where there are prima facie materials to show that the Bar President in a drunken condition misbehaved with a lady Court staff in the Court premises during working hours...The victim was on turn duty and alone in the office. According to her, Thiru.N.Muniyasamy came to her seat at around 3.15 p.m. in a drunken condition and made an improper proposal. After the victim severely warned him, Thiru. Muniyasamy retreated but told her that he would wait for her," the Court observed.
The petitioner asserted before the Court that he had seen the CCTV footage wherein the accused advocate is seen sexually molesting the victim by pulling her hand and doing a few more things, however, the Court refrained from making further comments and instead directed the registration of the FIR in the matter.
The Principal District Judge, Ramanathapuram, has been asked to make two copies of the CCTV footage and be made available to the Bar Council as well as the Inspector of Police, Kamuthi Police Station.
"The identity of the victim shall be strictly protected. I make it clear that the issuance of the directions or the observations made in this order would not in any way prejudice the defence which Thiru.N.Muniyasamy may possibly have," the Court said as it allowed the Writ Plea.
In related news, in the aftermath of video clippings of one of the lawyers logged in the virtual court engaging in eroticism with a woman went viral, Madras High Court has registered a suo motu criminal contempt proceedings.
About the incident that occurred in the court of Justice G.K Ilanthiraiyan, a Division Bench of Justice P.N. Prakash and Justice R. Hemalatha noted:
"This Court cannot afford to be a mute spectator and turn a Nelson's eye when such brazen vulgarity is publicly displayed amidst Court proceedings."
Therefore, the court took cognizance of the video clipping that was being circulated in social media, and asked CB-CID to register a suo motu FIR on the same.
"Since the impugned video clipping prima facie discloses the commission of cognizable offences under the Information Technology Act and other penal laws, the CB-CID shall register a suo motu FIR on the impugned video clipping and file a preliminary report before this Court on 23.12.2021 (Thursday) naming the 'dramatis personae' who are found engaged in the vulgar activity"
The Bar Council of Tamil Nadu & Puducherry also provisionally barred the practice of the said Advocate till the disposal of Disciplinary proceedings pending against him for his indecent behavior while attending the court proceedings
Click Here To Read/Download Bar Council's Notification and Madras High Court Order