New Delhi: The legal fraternity on Thursday said the Delhi High Court’s decision to punish two senior lawyers for trying to influence a witness in BMW hit-and-run case would improve the system.
The decision will have “salutary effect” on ensuring purity of the Bar, noted criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani said.
However, he cautioned that “care must now be taken that the actual accused who are on trial be not prejudiced by the conduct of their lawyer as there is no evidence that the accused involved their lawyer to do that (influence witness)”.
He said Bar should realise that Judges have seriously gone into the issue to enforce its ethical obligation and restrained themselves by not sending the erring senior advocates to jail.
“This is a very serious matter. I personally think that the Judges were kind to lawyers (Anand and Khan). The judgement of the High Court is welcomed and deserves to be complimented,” he said.
Senior advocate and Supreme Court lawyer Kamini Jaiswal expressed hope that the administration of justice would improve with the conviction of the two advocates.
“I am quite relieved that the High Court has taken a strict view in the matter and I hope that the system will improve with the verdict,” Ms. Jaiswal said.
On being asked about the quantum of punishment, she said, “No punishment is good enough...but what (can) you do.”
Noted criminal lawyer K T S Tulsi, however, termed the sentence against both the convicted lawyers as “disproportionate”.
“In a way, the sentence is much lighter than expected because there was blatant attempt at interference in administration of justice,” he said, adding even for lighter misconduct people have been sent to jail for varying sentences.
Lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi expressed satisfaction over the way the High Court took all aspects into consideration before reaching a final decision.
Welcoming the decision, advocate Prashant Bhushan suggested that the convicted advocates should be sent to jail. “In my opinion, it could have been even stronger. In fact, they should have been sent to jail because there was clear evidence,” he stated. -- PTI
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Bar Council decries ban on lawyers
|“High Court cannot encroach upon our powers”|
Criticises the strike of lawyers of all four district courts
Court has the power to punish the two senior advocates
NEW DELHI: The Bar Council of India on Saturday said the Delhi High Court had encroached its powers as well as the State Bar Council by imposing a ban on senior advocates -- R. K. Anand and I. U. Khan -- for practising in the High Court and subordinate courts for four months.
At a press conference here on Saturday, Bar Council of India chairman Suraj Narain Prasad Sinha said: “The Delhi High Court has the power to punish the two senior advocates in the contempt proceeding initiated in the BMW case but it cannot encroach the powers of Bar Council of India. We are not concerned with the merit of the verdict against the two senior advocates.”
Mr. Sinha said the Bar Council of India was only concerned with the powers encroached by the Delhi High Court in directing the two senior advocates not to appear in the High Court and its subordinate courts for the next four months. “Section 35 of Advocates Act 1961 clearly stipulates that the State Bar Council has the power to punish advocates for professional misconduct or other misconduct. It can either convict the delinquent lawyer or acquit him.”
Criticising the one-day strike of lawyers of all four district courts on Friday over the Delhi High Court’s verdict over the decision to bar senior advocates from practicing for four months in the contempt proceeding initiated in the BMW case, Mr. Sinha said: “The strike by lawyers in Tis Hazari, Patiala House, Karkardooma and Rohini courts on Friday over the Delhi High Court’s verdict was totally uncalled for. Not only litigants had to suffer but there is also drainage of the State exchequer. The Bar Council of India is not in favour of the strike as the Supreme Court had stated that the strike is applicable only in exceptional cases.”
Speaking on the occasion, Bar Council of India vice-chairman Jai Ram Beniwal said the Delhi High Court can only impose punishment under the law but cannot interfere in the powers vested with the Bar Council of the States, which alone can take away the licence of practise of an advocate for misconduct. “If disciplinary proceedings are not concluded in one-year in the Bar Council of Delhi then the matter would automatically transfer to Bar Council of India. The Bar Council of India can then exercise original and jurisdictional powers.”
© Copyright 2000 - 2008 The Hindu