HC bar association removes Punjab AG from membership, Bar Council stays move

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Chandigarh, Feb 1 (PTI) The Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association (HCBA) on Monday removed from its membership Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda for 'continuously working against physical opening of the court', a move which the bar council dubbed as 'uncalled for' and was later stayed by it.

The HCBA on Monday convened its general house meeting regarding the resumption of physical work in the high court which has been suspended since March 21, 2020.

According to a resolution passed in the meeting, 'Atul Nanda, Advocate General Punjab has continuously worked against the physical opening of the court and has acted against the interest of the bar and is dismembered from the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association.' The HCBA also resolved that 'the Chief Justice of India and Union Law Ministry shall be requested to immediately transfer the Hon'ble Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court Chandigarh to any other court'.

'The Court of Hon'ble the Chief Justice shall be boycotted until the complete opening of physical courts or until his transfer,' it resolved.

According to the HCBA, all the sectors of economy, movie theatres, primary schools, gyms, political gatherings are functioning in full capacity.

The continuous closure of the Punjab and Haryana High Court is sending the wrong signal to the society apart from taking away the livelihood of lawyers, stenos, clerks and other persons associated with the legal field, it said.

Reacting to the HCBA decision, Nanda described the allegations against him as 'baseless'.

Nanda said he had written a letter on January 30 giving his consent for appearance of law officers of the state during physical hearing of cases in the high court.

He said that taking suo motu cognizance the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, which is a supreme body, has 'stayed' the HCBA decision against him.

Nanda expressed surprise at the 'unilateral and arbitrary' resolution of the association, saying 'the decision to commence physical hearing rests with the administrative committee of the high court and not with me'.

He said the courts were closed for physical hearing keeping in mind the COVID-19 threat 'which is far from over and the world is still battling the crisis'.

Incidentally, the Supreme Court of India has also not yet opened for physical hearing.

The Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana stayed the 'dismemberment' of Advocate General Atul Nanda by the HCBA, terming it 'extremely unfair, unjust, harsh and uncalled for'.

An emergent meeting of the bar council discussed at length the association's decision of 'dismembering' Nanda and found that the action was taken 'in an arbitrary manner'.

According to a statement, the bar council members were of the view that Nanda had always stood for the cause of advocates, and the said resolution of the HCBA was against the facts as he had publicly, many a times, supported the resumption of physical working of the Courts. PTI CHS VSD AAR AAR