Activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan, convicted recently in a contempt case, Wednesday accused the Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) of trying to gag lawyers from speaking critically about the judiciary. Bhushan's reaction came in response to a notice sent to him by BCD to appear before it on October 23 in connection with the case.
BCD asked him why proceedings should not be initiated to revoke his enrolment as a lawyer in view of the conviction and punishment by the apex court for his contemptuous tweets against judiciary. So Bar Council now wants to gag lawyers from speaking critically about the Judiciary, Bhushan wrote on Twitter.
The BCD sent the notice in pursuance of the resolution of September 6 of the apex bar body, the Bar Council of India (BCI), asking its Delhi chapter to take a legally-mandated decision in this matter keeping in mind the conviction of Bhushan. Bhushan, who has been asked to appear either personally or through video conferencing on October 23, has to respond to the BCD within 15-days of receiving the notice.
A Bar Council of a state grants license to a person to practice as a lawyer and has wide powers such as suspending or taking away the right of its members in certain situations to practice under the Advocates Act. Bhushan acknowledged receiving the notice on Twitter this morning.
The BCD has said that in case Bhushan do not choose to appear before the Council on the date fixed, the proceedings shall be taken ex-parte. A bench headed by Justice Aruna Mishra (since retired) had convicted Bhushan for his two tweets against the judiciary and imposed a fine of Re 1 on him.
As a punishment he was directed to deposit the fine with the Supreme Court registry by September 15, failing which he would have to undergo three-month jail term and debarment from law practice for three years. Bhushan on September 14 paid the fine imposed upon him, and later filed his review petition against the conviction.
The apex bar body had said it deliberated upon the the apex court judgment in its general council meeting held on September 3 and held that the tweets and statements made by Bhushan and the SC judgment need thorough study and examination in the light of the statutory duties, powers and functions conferred on it under the Advocates' Act and the rules framed thereunder.(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)