The Supreme Court recently sought Bar Council of India's detailed reply in a contempt petition alleging disobedience of Top Court's directions asking Bar Councils to decide complaints against Advocates within 1 year of their receipt.
Considering the submissions of BCI's counsel that to comply with the directions, the BCI had issued circular to all the State Bar Councils on December 27, 2021, the bench of Justices MR Shah and BV Nagarathna remarked that mere issuance of Circular or sending the intimation is not enough.
"The Bar Council of India is required to see that the directions issued by this Court are truly and fully complied with by the Bar Council of India as well as all the State Bar Council/s," Court further observed in its order.
Along with asking the Bar Councils to dispose of complaints under Section 35 expeditiously and conclude the same within a period of one year from the date of receipt of the complaint as mandated under Section 36 B of the Advocates Act, Apex Court also passed directions to expedite the disposal of the transferred proceedings before the Bar Council of India.
A bench comprising Justices M.R. Shah and B.V. Nagarathna held that only in exceptional cases and on providing cogent and valid reasons for non-disposal within one year, the proceedings would be transferred to the Bar Council of India. It further observed that BCI ought to dispose of the transferred proceedings/complaints within a period of one year from the receipt of transfer.
Considering that 1273 complaints were transferred to the BCI from State Bar Councils over the last five years, the Court noted that a mechanism for disposal ought to be developed.
The Court directed BCI to issue directions to the State Bar Council to enlist a panel of Inquiry Officers for conducting the inquiry on behalf of BCI and upon enquiry provide a report to BCI so that it can take appropriate actions. The complainants and the concerned advocates against whom the complaints can appear before the Inquiry Officers in the State where the complaints are filed.
To expedite the process of disposal of complaints at the state level, the Court directed the Disciplinary Committee of State Bar Councils to meet on a regular basis. It further directed the State Bar Council to enlist a panel of Inquiry Officers who could be entrusted with the conduct of the inquiry as and when the same is necessitated on a complaint. The disciplinary committee of the State Bar Council on consideration of the said inquiry report would pass orders in accordance with the provision of section 35 of the Act.
While adjourning the matter for July 18, 2022 the bench asked BCI to file a report on or before July 14, 2022.
Counsel For Petitioner: Advocate(s) Charanjeet Singh Chanderpal and Anil Kumar
Counsel For Respondent: AOR Radhika Gautam
Case Title: Charanjeet Singh Chanderpal Vasant D. Salunkhe & Ors.| CONMT.PET.(C) No. 309/2022 in C.A. No. 7478/2019