'Have You Acted Against Lawyers for Indiscipline, Strikes': SC Seeks Report from Bar Council of India


New Delhi: The Bar Council of India (BCI) has been called upon by the Supreme Court to submit a list of lawyers who have been acted against throughout the country for unruly behaviour and for striking work in courts.

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra also directed the BCI to collate data from all state bar councils and inform how many cases of disciplinary actions are pending against the lawyers across the country and for how long.

The top court asked the apex regulatory body of the lawyers to adduce statistics on number of lawyers’ strikes that have taken place in the recent past. BCI has to further submit list of resolutions it has issued till date on the pertinent issues and the mechanism of their implementation.

The court was hearing a contempt petition, argued by advocate Prashant Bhushan, who contended that BCI has failed miserably in performing its duty as the regulatory body to upkeep the sanctity of the profession and of the professionals.

Bhushan said that BCI was engaged only in the lip service of issuing resolutions without caring one bit about their implementations on ground. He cited instances of frequent strikes by lawyers, much to the harassment of the litigants and also in the teeth of the top court’s caution.

At this, the bench decided to seek a detailed report from the BCI on these relevant points, and directed it to gather the information.

"Let BCI file entire data showing what it has done for implementation of its resolutions as well as disciplinary matters pending throughout the country with various disciplinary committees of the various State Bar Councils and how many matters on disciplinary side are pending before the BCI and for how long," directed the court.

Its order added: "Let data of all the State Bar Councils be furnished on an affidavit and also the data with respect to the periodic strikes and cease work which are taking place in the country and reasons thereof."

The affidavit by BCI also needs to elaborate on "whether the State Bar Councils have initiated any disciplinary action against the lawyers for indulging into the strikes which are not permissible and contrary to the resolution(s) of the Bar Council of India and the judgment(s) of this Court”.

The BCI has been given time till September 20 to collect all the information and file its affidavit. The bench will take up the matter next in the last week of September.