Thursday, May 30, 2024

Bhushan’s worry far from over; could still be barred from practice

The troubles for Prashant Bhushan seem far from over. After paying up the fine having been held “guilty” of “contempt of court” by the Supreme Court, the controversial lawyer now faces punishment from Bar Council of India (BCI).

The Bar Council of India, it is learnt, is initiating disciplinary proceedings against Bhushan’s “professional misconduct” and has directed the Delhi Bar Council for the same.

In a meeting of the BCI on Thursday, where the council took reviewed the matter of Bhushan being found guilty and made to pay by the Supreme Court, it said: “The council is of the view that the tweets and statements made by Prashant Bhushan and the judgements of the SC need thorough examination by the bar council in the light of the statutory duties, powers and functions conferred on it under Advocates Act 1961 and the rules framed thereunder particularly Sections 24A and 35 of the Act and Chapter II, Part VI of BCCI rules.

“BCI therefore unanimously resolves to direct Bar Council of Delhi, where Prashant Bhushan is enrolled as n advocate, to examine the matter and proceed as per law and rules to decide the same as expeditiously as possible,” it said.

For this process, the BCCI would send the tweets of Bhushan to Delhi council.  In its judgement and subsequent fine, the Supreme Court had said: “Pursuant to conviction in a criminal case, BCI can suspend the enrolment, if it so desires. It is also open to this court to debar from practising in a court.”

In a report, an instance is cited of a BCI vs HC of Kerala case of 2004. The SC had ruled: “Although in a case of professional misconduct, this court cannot punish an advocate in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 120 which can be imposed on a finding of professional misconduct recorded in the manner prescribed under Advocates Act and the rules framed thereunder, but professional misconduct of the advocate concerned is not a matter directly in issues in the matter of contempt case.”

The bar council, under section 24A of the Advocates Act 1961, can disqualify an advocate if he is convicted of an offence involving moral laxity. It implies that Prashant Bhushan could still be barred from continuing with his practice. His troubles are still not over.


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