A writ petition has been filed in the Supreme Court for a declaration that the newly amended rule under Part VI of Chapter II of the Bar Council of India Rules is violative of Section 49 (1) of the Advocates Act, 1961 and the fundamental rights guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution, in particular, Articles 14, 19 (1) (a), 19 (1) (c) and 21.
The petition has been filed by two advocates, Rohini Amin and Maria Nedumpara. Amin is enrolled at the Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa and is also the General Secretary of National Lawyers Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms (NLC), an organization registered under the Maharashtra Public Trusts Act, 1950, and Nedumpara is enrolled at Bar Council of Kerala.
Earlier, the Bar Council of India via a Gazette notification had amended its rules, making any statement made in Electronic or Social Media, which is indecent or derogatory, defamatory or motivated, malicious or mischievous against any Court or Judge or any member of Judiciary, by any Advocate shall be a ground for his/her suspension or disqualification.
It was also stated that if any statement made by any advocate or engage in any wilful violation, disregard or defiance of any resolution or order of the State Bar Council or Bar Council of India and any such act/conduct shall amount to misconduct and a ground for disqualification.
The Petitioners have moved the Apex Court considering the amendment being introduced as section V and section V-A under Part VI of Chapter II of the Bar Council of India Rules as shocking in how tyrannical they are.
“The Bar Council has no legislative powers which fall in the exclusive province of the Parliament. The only power vested in the Bar Council is that of a delegate, to give effect to the Act of Parliament, namely, the Advocates Act, 1961. Such a power is not a substantive power, but falls in the realm of procedure. In incorporating the prohibition as stated above, the Bar Council has exceeded its jurisdiction, acted as if it is the Parliament.”
“However, assuming for a moment, for mere argument’s sake, that the Bar Council is vested of such jurisdiction of legislation, then also, a mere reading of Section V and V-A would indicate that the Bar Council lost sight of the elementary principles of law, which as a professional body of lawyers, could have least been expected of it,” states the petition.
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“Through amendment under challenge, namely, Section V, apart from seeking to protect a judge or a member of judiciary from derogatory or defamatory statement by a lawyer in print, electronic or social media, the Bar Council seeks to protect itself of any such criticism… It is difficult to believe that the Bar Council of India made such rules, which even the worst dictator, tyrant would not have thought to…,” the petition further states.
Read the plea here;FINAL-WP-BAR-COUNCIL