Tuesday, November 27, 2018

TN Bar Council Committee recommends debarring of husband-wife "Advocate" duo for fraudulent enrolment, rowdyism

An aghast Enrolment Committee of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry (BCTP) was recently prompted to pass orders prohibiting a woman advocate and her husband from legal practice. The order was passed following a complaint that the two were illegally professing themselves to be advocates and disturbing the local peace.
On finding sufficient proof of their transgressions, the BCTP has recommended that the Bar Council of India (BCI) permanently remove their names from the roll of advocates .
The complainant approached the BCTP after the woman advocate removed a blockade to a pathway and burned the same, in open defiance of a court’s order in a pending property dispute. Photographs proving the same were also submitted to the BCTP Committee.
Over and above this immediate grievance, the Council was informed that the woman had not undergone a regular law course to obtain a valid law degree in the first place.
The complainant alleged that she had been employed in two schools as a yoga teacher instead. The Council found that there was adequate proof to show that during the alleged study period in an Andhra Pradesh-based law college, the woman advocate was employed in at least one school as a yoga teacher on the weekends.
The fact that this school was located thousands of kilometres away from the law college led the Council to conclude that she had not undergone a regular law course, thereby making her law degree invalid in the eyes of law.
The fact of her previous employment – regardless of whether it was part time as claimed by her or not – was further found to be completely suppressed by the woman in her enrolment application. The failure to disclose this information also prompted the Council to hold that she is disentitled to continue practice as an Advocate.
To make matters worse, there were records to prove that she continued to be employed at the school after her enrolment, at least between June 2012 and December 2017.
And to top it all off, the woman and her husband had set up prominent boards outside a shop they had rented, notifying that they were involved in numerous parallel projects including an Aadhaar enrolment centre. They also appear to have referred to themselves as legal advisors for enterprises involved in aluminium fabrication, interior decoration and PVC doors as well.
This, despite the woman advocate’s admission before the BCTP that her husband had discontinued his legal studies, that he did not possess a law degree, and that he had not practiced as an advocate in any court.
Given these violations, the BCTP Committee observed that the duo had acted to attract total disqualification from legal practice under the Advocate’s Act. With particular reference to the woman advocate, it was observed,
If she is allowed to practice even for one day it will be a total disrespect to the nobility and dignity of Legal Profession and sincere Lawyers. Moreover she will go down to any level to tamper with the Court records and the pending cases against her, if she is allowed to practice pending proceedings under sec. 26… of the Advocates Act, 1961.
The duo has therefore been prohibited from legal practice, pending the decision of the BCI on BCTP’s recommendation for the permanent removal of their names from the advocate rolls under Section 26 of the Advocates Act, 1961.
The Committee comprising Senior Advocate R Singaravelan and N Chandrasekharan has also imposed a penalty of Rs. 50,000 on the woman, which she has been directed to pay within two weeks.
The complainant has also been granted liberty to move a complaint for professional misconduct against the duo under Section 35 of the Advocates Act.

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