The Bar Council of India on Wednesday has decided that it will hold conferences with Advocates and litigants in Supreme Court, all High Courts and District Court in the country. It will also consult the Senior and other Advocates of Supreme Court and High Courts in order to gather their opinion regarding resumption of regular hearings in the Courts.
“On one hand cases of Covid-19 are increasing day by day and on the other the problems of litigants and Advocates are mounting. Litigants are unable to get justice through the process of virtual courts”, said in the circular.
On 20th May, 2020, the General Council of BCI has decided to consult Senior and other Advocates of Supreme Court, of all High Courts and District Court Bar Associations through the State Bar Councils in order to gather opinion on this crucial issue.
The Council has been receiving complaints of pick and choose in fixation of the urgent matters in some High Courts, the frequent disturbances in the Video Conference hearing due to unsatisfactory ‘WiFi’ and other technical problems which are a common phenomenon.
“The public and Advocates are in the dark as to what is really going on in the various Courts of the country. Moreover, in the opinion of some of the biggest Bar Associations and several Advocates of Supreme Court and High Courts, some people are trying to take undue advantage of lockdown (and almost closure of courts) and the legal profession is gradually being attempted to be high jacked by a few blessed Lawyers and selected Law-Firms who have high level connections. The entire system is likely to go out of hands of common Advocates. In such situation, the Supreme Court and High Courts cannot shut their eyes and the Bar Council of India would approach the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India and Chief Justice of High Courts to request them to take note of the real difficulties”, said in the press release.
Provision for Extra-Links during virtual hearings in Supreme Court: –
The Council has considered the difficulties of thousands of Advocates practicing in Supreme Court and accordingly the Council has resolved to request Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India and Hon’ble Mr. Justice D. Y. Chandrachud to give necessary instructions to the concerned authorities of Supreme Court and to provide links to all such Advocates in the virtual hearings, who are concerned with the particular matter and who are either to assist the Senior Advocate(s) or take part in the hearings. A maximum of 5 links should be provided to the Advocates of each side who apply for the links in a case.
The Press Release further mentioned about “Illegal Advertisement”, in which it was said that: – “With permission of the chair, Mr. Ved Prakash Sharma, Co-Chairman, Bar Council of India raised the issue of publication through website of https://toplawyersofsupremecourtofindia.com wherein profile of many senior and other advocates has been given. It has been categorized into 3 categories viz. 1st category of Senior Lawyers, 2nd Category of Senior Lawyers and 3rd List of (Good Junior Advocates). The said profile is nothing but an advertisement and publicity of the professional activities and accomplishments of the said Advocates in clear violation of Rule-36, Chapter-II, Part-VI, Section-IV-Duty to Colleagues, of the Rules of the Bar Council of India”.
The Council accordingly has resolved to issue notice to Mr. Rahul Trivedi, Ms. Suhasini Sen, Advocates who are indulged in practice of illegal advertisement of their own and of a few Senior and other Advocates practicing in Supreme Court and Delhi High Court.
An Advocate, under the Rules of the Bar council of India cannot mention/ display anything except his/her name, address, details of his enrollment, professional and academic qualifications, name of State Bar Council where he/she is enrolled, name of Bar Association of which he/she is a member, and areas of his/her practice.
The Council has also authorized and requested the Chairman of Bar Council of India to write a detailed letter to Hon’ble Chief Justice of India and all the Hon’ble Judges of Supreme Court of India and to draw their attention towards such mal-practices, since it is tarnishing the image of our Judiciary and the Judges also.
Permission whether former Ministers could Practice: –
Some of the Bar Associations have been writing and raising the issue whether a former Union Minister, who was/is a part of cabinet which approves/ approved the appointment of a particular Judge of Supreme Court of India or of High Court, should be allowed to practice before that particular Hon’ble Judge. This issue will be decided after normal functioning in all courts resume.
Financial Assistance to Needy Advocates: –
The Council has further resolved to again request Hon’ble Prime Minister and all the Hon’ble Chief Ministers to assist the needy lawyers and help them to overcome their professional loss, they have suffered/ are still suffering. It is noted that the Bar Council of India, the State Bar Councils and the Bar Associations of the country have been doing and helping such needy Advocates, as per their capacity. However, the resources of these organizations are limited. Therefore, unless the Government comes to their rescue, their problem is not going to be solved. All the Bar Associations of the country should pass a resolution and send it to Hon’ble Prime Minister and to all the Hon’ble Chief Ministers through Local M. P., M. L. As., and District Collectors.
Read the BCI letter here;BCI_Press_Release___20_May_2020
-India Legal Bureau