SC Dismisses Plea Against Madras HC Order Barring Publishing Of Judges, Lawyers’ Names In News Items

SC Dismisses Plea Against Madras HC Order Barring Publishing Of Judges, Lawyers’ Names In News Items

A two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a Special Leave Petition challenging the Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) by which it is has directed the Registrar (Administration) to immediately circulate instructions to all print, electronic and media houses not to publish the names of the lawyers appeared in the case, as part of news item. The Bench also directed the Registrar (Administration) to request the print, electronic and media houses not to publish individual names of the judges unless it is so essentially required.

The Bench comprising Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Prafulla C. Pant dismissed the petition filed by advocate Baskar Mathuram through N. Rajaraman. By the impugned order, the High Court directed the Registrar (Judicial) to place a copy of the affidavit filed by Mathuram in the case before the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for initiating necessary action for the breach of Code of Ethics and professional conduct by the writ petitioner. LiveLaw broke the story on 24th August, 2016

The Bench comprising Justice Nooty Ramamohana Rao and Justice S.S. Sundar was hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocate Baskar Mathuram seeking direction to adequately compensate the innocent children who have been affected by the illegal registration of the First Information Report in Crime No.81 of 2016 relating to an incident that allegedly occurred on 05.08.2016, in some remote rural area of the state. A complaint was lodged by one of the victims’ parents on 06.08.2016 based on which the police registered a case promptly and took up the matter for investigation. Some of the newspapers also carried a news item, on 07.08.2016. According to the Bench, the news reports inspired Advocate Baskar Mathuram to file this writ petition.

The Bench observed that if a practitioner of law is seeking to use the platform of high curt for purposes of gaining popularity and publicity, so that he will be able to attract more number of clients, if not the alleged victims themselves in this case, it would amount to an unethical practice of soliciting work on one’s part. The Bench added that once the Code of Conduct is prescribed by the Bar Council of India to be always adhered to and followed by every practitioner of law, any attempt to overreach the situation and also to breach it, even in an indirect manner, as has been done in the present case, it must attract necessary corrective action.

Read the order here.