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'Last Chance': Supreme Court Asks Bar Council Of India To Dispose Off The Complaints Against Lawyers By December 31

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
1 Oct 2022 6:02 AM GMT
Last Chance: Supreme Court Asks Bar Council Of India To Dispose Off The Complaints Against Lawyers By December 31
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Noting that "to have the discipline and maintain the purity of the profession, the complaints made by the concerned litigants are required to be disposed off at the earliest so that the litigants may continue to have faith in the justice delivery system and in the profession", the Supreme Court on Thursday, "as a last chance", extended the time for the BCI to dispose off the complaints...

Noting that "to have the discipline and maintain the purity of the profession, the complaints made by the concerned litigants are required to be disposed off at the earliest so that the litigants may continue to have faith in the justice delivery system and in the profession", the Supreme Court on Thursday, "as a last chance", extended the time for the BCI to dispose off the complaints against advocates received by it and/or transferred to it by 3 months i.e. by 31 December 2022.

By its judgment of 17.12.2021, after taking into consideration Section 35 and Section 36B of the Advocates Act, the Court had directed the Bar Council of India to issue appropriate directions to the concerned state Bar Councils to decide and dispose off the complaints within a period of one year from the date of receipt of such complaints/proceedings and on failure to dispose off the same within a period of one year, all such complaints be transferred to BCI for its decision. The Court had passed a detailed judgment and order/directions directing the BCI to see to it that all pending complaints pending before the concerned state Bar Councils pending since more than one year be transferred to the BCI for its decision considering Section 36B of the Advocates Act. Therefore, as such, the BCI was required to finally decide and dispose of the transferred complaints.
On Wednesday, the bench of Justices M. R. Shah and Krishna Murari was hearing a contempt petition in connection with the aforesaid judgment.
Justice Shah to Senior Advocate and BCI Chairman Manan Mishra: "When the litigant goes to the bar council, initially he goes to the bar Council of the concerned state. When the state bar council did not take any action, thereafter the cases are deemed to have been transferred to the bar Council of India. Now if they are also taking 1, 2, 3, 4 years, what will happen? Indiscipline cannot be tolerated"
Justice Krishna Murari: "Even if the complaint is false, just see where the advocates are hanging"
Justice Shah: "If somebody has committed misconduct, he should be punished. If he has not done anything, then he should be exonerated!"
Mr. Mishra: "Justice Krishna Murari would know how slack the UP bar council is. So many orders had to be passed against the bar Council of UP..."
Justice Krishna Murari: "That is for you to control"
Justice Shah: "Don't blame the bar council because of the fact that now, the cases are transferred to the bar council of India. They are all your enquiry officers, They are not the enquiry officers of the concerned bar council"
Mr. Mishra: "The information was to come through the state bar councils..."
Justice Shah: "You have to depend upon the enquiry officers only, you cannot depend upon every state bar council. After the evidence is recorded, report is submitted by the enquiry officer, the proceeding would come back to the bar Council of India. You have to expedite, counsel, if you want to maintain the discipline in your profession!"
Mr. Mishra: "If Your Lordships permit, we have plans to hold the circuit benches in the respective state bar councils for disposal..."
Justice Shah: "Do that. Whatever has to be done is to be done by the bar Council of India, because now all proceedings are transferred to the bar Council of India. Disciplinary authority will not be the bar council of the concerned state but the bar Council of India, because all cases are transferred under section 36B. All enquiry officers are appointed by you!"
Mr. Mishra: "We are requesting for 3 months..."
The bench then proceeded to dictate the following order- "An application has been filed for extension of time for compliance of order dated 1. 8. 2022 with affidavit and a chart reflecting state-wise numbers of cases pending enquiry. Having gone through the chart, it appears that in most of the cases/complaints where the enquiry is transferred to the bar Council of India, the concerned enquiry officers appointed by the bar Council of India have not submitted the report and consequently the respective complaints are not disposed off. Shri Manan Mishra, senior advocate and chairman of bar Council of India, prays for extension of time to complete the enquiry transferred to the bar Council of India by a further period of three months. He has also stated that the expeditious disposal of the complaints received by the bar Council of India and/or transferred to the bar Council of India and the hearing of the parties in the respective complaints shall be facilitated by having circuit benches in the respective states. As a last chance, we extend the time to dispose off the complaints received by the BCI or transferred to the BCI until 31 December 2022. The bar Council of India must decide and dispose off the complaints received by it and/or transferred to the bar Council of India from the bar councils of the concerned state where they were pending for more than one year and were required to be transferred in exercise of the power under section 36B of the advocates act. To have the discipline and maintain the purity of the profession, the complaints made by the concerned litigants are required to be disposed off at the earliest so that the litigants may continue to have faith in the justice delivery system and in the profession. One grievance which is raised by the applicant party-in-person is that despite the fact that the complaints are pending for more than one year, the concerned state bar councils have not transferred the cases to the bar Council of India. The grievance is voiced with respect to the bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa. Without expressing anything on the correctness of the statement, we once again reiterate our earlier orders and direct that for all concerned state bar councils Before whom Complaints are pending for more than one year shall stand transferred to the bar council of India. As ordered earlier, the bar Council of India must ensure the early disposal of those cases which are transferred and or deemed to have been transferred by our earlier order and the present order"
Case Title: CHARANJEET SINGH CHNDERPAL v. VASANT D. SALUNKHE AND ORS.

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