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Allahabad HC asks UP Bar Council, Bar Council of India about action taken against lawyers involved in criminal activities

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Taking a tough stand on lawyers involved in criminal activities, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has asked the Uttar Pradesh Bar Council and the Bar Council of India what disciplinary action has been taken against the advocates, who have been found guilty of misconduct.

The Division Bench of Justice Rakesh Srivastava and Justice Shamim Ahmed passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Piyush Shrivastava (In Person) & Ors. In pursuance of the order dated November 30, 2021 passed by the Court, Somen Barma, Deputy Commissioner of Police, West Zone, Lucknow, Raj Kishore Pandey Station House Officer, Police Station Wazirganj Lucknow and Tej Prakash Singh, Sub Inspector and Brajesh Kumar Dubey, Sub Inspector, Police Station Wazirganj are present.

Report dated December 20, 2021 submitted by Somen Barma, Deputy Commissioner of Police, West Zone, Lucknow is taken on record. The High Court perused the report dated December 11, 2021 submitted by Ram Manohar Narayan Mishra, District Judge, Lucknow.

The Court noted,

“According to him, 50 cases are pending trial against the advocates in Lucknow Judgeship out of which 36 cases are pending before the Magistrate and 14 cases are before the Sessions Judge. In the FIR lodged by the then Chief Judicial Magistrate, Sandhya Srivastava, the case is fixed for appearance of accused persons. It is surprising that the charge-sheet having been filed long back even the presence of accused persons could not be ensured and the charges could not be framed.”

The Court was not satisfied with the tardy progress of the criminal trial, especially when the Courts’ working is involved. It asked the District Judge to impress upon the Magistrate to ensure the appearance of the accused persons and expedite framing of charges so that trial could begin immediately. The cases involving advocates should be tried expeditiously so that innocent do not suffer and the guilty are not spared.

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The Court further noted, according to the report, submitted by D.K. Thakur, the Commissioner of Police, in 74 cases the charge-sheets have been submitted, while the District Judge has given reference to only 50 cases. The District Judge is directed to coordinate with local police officers and list the status of all 74 cases in a detailed chart.

The Court observed that the reference given by Sandhya Srivastava, the then Chief Judicial Magistrate, was forwarded to the Court but no progress has been made in the said case till date. This appears to be a very serious matter.

The Registrar General of the Court is directed to place the matter before the Chief Justice. The Registrar General shall also place all the references made under the Contempt of Courts Act, which have not been placed before the court for action thereon.

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As pending references tend to demoralize the Judicial Officers, who are supposed to work fearlessly, and the erring lawyers continue to indulge in their notorious activities including misbehavior with the Judges working at district level. Expeditious disposal of admitted references is the demand of justice and any delay in taking cognizance thereon may tend to obstruct the course of justice, the Court said.

According to the Police Commissioner, in 28 cases, the investigation is still going on. He is directed to ensure the earliest conclusion of the investigation. The Police Commissioner will also ensure that processes are issued in 74 cases in which a charge-sheet has been submitted or complied with by the officials. Since Thakur has prayed for some time to revisit the final reports, we direct him to examine each case carefully and submit his report by the next date, the Court ordered.

“Notice be also issued to the Uttar Pradesh State Bar Council and Bar Council of India. Both the Councils are represented by Subhash Chandra Pandey and Shailesh Kumar Pathak, no need to take steps.

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The counsel of the Uttar Pradesh Bar Council shall inform as to what disciplinary action has been taken against the advocates, who have been found guilty of misconduct. We would like to know the number of advocates against whom action has been taken within the last five years as also the districts to which they belong.

“Somen Barma, DCP, West Zone, Lucknow prayed for some further time to complete the investigation and submit a status report. Let that be done by the next date fixed. The Officers, who have appeared, shall appear again on the date fixed,”

-the order reads. The Court has fixed the next hearing of the petition on January 10, 2022.

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