After the tense series of events following the clash between lawyers and police at Delhi’s Tis Hazari Court, the Bar Council of India has written to bar bodies asking them to identify lawyers “indulging in hooliganism” and requested advocates to end their protest, which is “bringing bad name to the institution”.
BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra in his letter said sparing such “rowdy elements” is tarnishing the image of the institution and it is the inaction and tolerance of bar bodies that encourage these advocates, which would ultimately result in “contempt proceedings by the high courts or Supreme Court”.
“The incidents of beating policemen on bike by some of Saket lawyers, assault of an auto driver, manhandling general public are most unfortunate and Bar Council of India is not going to tolerate it. These are acts of grave misconduct,” the letter said.
The tension between police personnel and lawyers had been building up since Saturday when a clash over a parking dispute led to at least 20 security personnel and several advocates being injured at Tis Hazari complex.
Lawyers at the six district courts in the national capital — Tis Hazari, Karkardooma, Saket, Dwarka, Rohini and Patiala House — boycotted work on Monday.
Mishra said: “The way some lawyers are acting even after such a nice step of Delhi High Court, yesterday’s (November 4) behaviour of few lawyers has disturbed us… Abstaining from Court or resort to violence will not help us, rather by doing this we are losing the sympathy of courts, Inquiring judge, CBI, IB and Vigilance. Even the general public’s opinion is going adverse to us. The result may be dangerous.
“Hooliganism and violence have no place in the Bar. The leaders will have to stop it immediately. It’s my earnest and humble request. Kindly identify those Advocates (if they are Advocates in real sense) and send their names and other details by tomorrow to the BCI office.”
The Delhi High Court on Sunday ordered a judicial inquiry into the violence by a team comprising a retired judge, Directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Intelligence Bureau and Vigilance.
On the Delhi High Court’s order, Special Commissioner (in-charge Law and Order) Sanjay Singh was removed on Monday and Special Commissioner RS Krishnaiya was given the additional charge. It also made it clear that no coercive action would be taken against any lawyer.
The letter also appealed to the “big leaders of Bar Associations of Delhi”, to recall the resolution passed on Monday, and to resume work from today itself and has warned that the BCI would withdraw its support from the entire episode.
“If the peace and harmony are not restored and resolution (to abstain from work) is not recalled, then we will have no option but to withdraw from this episode. We will neither participate in enquiry nor we will be in a position to defend anyone inside or outside Court,” the bar council said.
“We are tarnishing the image of the institution by sparing such rowdy elements. Our inaction and tolerance encourages them and ultimately results in Contempt Proceedings by the High Courts or Supreme Court,” it added.
It called as meaningless and without any legal basis, the resolution put out by Bar associations on Monday, which said that they would go on an indefinite strike until the police personnel are arrested.
“The resolution of Coordination Committee (that police officials or personnel should be arrested first) is now meaningless and has no legal basis. We are to think this important aspect from legal point of view, so that we may not be laughing stock before the Society,” the letter said.
Anticipating a plea by policemen for review of the high court order, the BCI said: “For the first time in the history of Judiciary, the high court sat on a holiday and passed an unprecedented order in favour of Advocates which the lawyers should not forget this obligation of the court and should not anything which could result in recall of such order”.
“As responsible leaders of the Bar, you can’t overlook these materials. The opponents will produce these things before the Committee, the CBI, the Vigilance, the IB and the High Court. IB has now been deputed in this matter, they might be closely watching and collecting materials to find out,” it added.
The BCI said that it is the responsibility of Delhi Bar leaders to ensure that, “as a final result of Judicial enquiry, the guilty police officials are taken to task, sent to jail, and ultimately convicted and removed from service”.
It also said that the Bar leaders must ensure that in course of an enquiry, nothing adverse should come, which could put any lawyer in trouble.
“No lawyer should be put to trial in any criminal case. Our experience is that, in such situation, the leaders start keeping distance from the advocates in trouble. Leaders are only concerned with their interests and votes. That’s all. No one comes to the rescue of a lawyer if a criminal case starts against him,” BCI said.