Sunday, January 27, 2019

Supreme Court strikes down Madras High Court disciplinary Rules for advocates

The Supreme Court has struck down the discplinary Rules framed by Madras High Court for lawyers.
The judgment was rendered by a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran.

The disciplinary rules contained grounds on which an advocate could be disbarred. These grounds included abusing/browbeating a judge, spreading unfounded allegations against a judge, and appearing in court under the influence of alcohol.

Under the rules, disciplinary action could be taken against an advocate on the following grounds:

“(vii) An Advocate who is found to have accepted money in the name of a Judge or on the pretext of influencing him; or
(viii) An Advocate who is found to have tampered with the Court record or Court order; or
(ix) An Advocate who browbeats and/or abuses a Judge or Judicial Officer; or
(x) An Advocate who is found to have sent or spread unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations/petitions against a Judicial Officer or a Judge to the Superior Court; or
(xi) An Advocate who actively participates in a procession inside the Court campus and/or involves in gherao inside the Court Hall or holds placard inside the Court Hall; or
(xii) An Advocate who appears in the Court under the influence of liquor shall be debarred from appearing before the High Court or Subordinate Courts permanently or for such period as the Court may think fit and the Registrar General shall thereupon report the said fact to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu.”
These rules were framed in 2016 pursuant to the Supreme Court’s directions in the 2009 case of RK Anand v Registrar, Delhi High Court. Accordingly, amendments were made to the Advocate’s Act, 1961 to accommodate the new rules framed by a committee of judges, and notified through a circular issued by the High Court Registrar on May 20, 2016.
As per these disciplinary rules, judges of the High Court as well as those of subordinate courts were empowered to initiate action against, and even debar an advocate on any of the aforementioned grounds.

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