The Bar Council Of India (BCI) has passed a resolution against criticism and reckless comments against the Judiciary. It has amended its Rules, to make any statement made by a lawyer which is indecent or derogatory, defamatory, motivated, malicious or mischievous against any court, judge, State Bar Council or the BCI, a ground for suspension or cancellation of licence to practice law.
Further, criticising or attacking any decision of any State Bar Council or Bar Council of India on public domain will also amount to “misconduct”, which could attract disqualification or suspension.
The new amendment was notified in the gazette on June 25.
Two new provisions were inserted in this regard in the BCI Rules:
The first was insertion of Section V in Part-VI, Chapter-II of the Bar Council of India Rules. The said amendment reads:
“An Advocate shall conduct himself/herself as a gentleman/gentle lady in his/her day to day life and he/she shall not do any unlawful act, he/she shall not make any statement in the Print, Electronic or Social Media, which is indecent or derogatory, defamatory or motivated, malicious or mischievous against any Court or Judge or any member of Judiciary, or against State Bar Council or Bar Council of India.”
Any such act/conduct shall amount to misconduct and such Advocates would be liable to be proceeded with under Sections 35 or 36 of the Advocates’ Act, 1961, it said.
Section 35 prescribes punishment for misconduct which can be suspension from practice or disqualification.
Any any willful violation, disregard or defiance of any resolution or order of the State Bar Council or Bar Council of India will also be construed as misconduct, the amendment further said.
The second provision inserted was Section VA.
It lays down that no member of any State Bar Council or of Bar Council of India shall be permitted to publish anything or to make any statement or press-release in print, electronic or social media against any resolution or order of concerned State Bar Council or Bar Council of India or to make/use any derogatory or abusive language/comment/s/ word/s against the Bar Council or its office-bearers or members.
Further, the decision of any State Bar Council or Bar Council of India shall not be criticized or attacked by any Member/s of Bar Council in public domain.
Violation of the same would also result in suspension or disqualification.
However, a proviso to Section VA clarified that healthy and bonafide criticism made in good faith, shall not be treated as a “misconduct”
A press release signed by BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said, “In recent past, we have seen the development of a new trend with regard to the action of some people against comments and observations of Supreme Court judges in the course of judicial proceeding even when such comments are not part of a judicial order. A handful of politicians and some so-called social activists are feeling elevated by criticizing and making reckless comments against the judges through social and print media. In our opinion, such attempts are a direct attack on the independence of the Judiciary. It has become a fashion for some motivated people to make personal aspersions against our judges. If this trend is allowed to continue the institution will lose its sanctity.”
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