Three Congress leaders, who are also practicing lawyers, have been barred by the Bar Council of India (BCI) to appear before the court of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. The decision has been taken by the lawyers’ body to bar Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Vivek Tankha in view of the motion being brought by opposition parties for the removal of the Chief Justice, reported DNA.
DNA quoted BCI president Manan Mishra as saying, “The BCI has come to a final conclusion that we cannot stop or ban MPs from practising in courts, but there is an exception to it. Lawyer-MPs or -MLAs, if they start any motion for impeachment or a removal proceeding against any high court or Supreme Court judge, they will not be allowed to practise in that particular court. This is the majority view of the council.”
Sibal, Singhvi and Tankha had reportedly objected to the move. Writing to the BCI, they had said that it was not in its jurisdiction to bar them from appearing before any court of the Supreme Court or High Courts.
This comes even as a plea seeking ban on MPs and MLAs from practicing law is pending before the Supreme Court.
The motion to remove Justice Misra, being prepared by opposition parties including Congress, NCP and Samajwadi Party, among others, is in relation to the CJI's handling of the matters raised by four Supreme Court judges at a press conference on January 11, 2018. Following the unprecedented press meet by four senior SC judges - Justice Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Madan B Lokur - there were reports of senior Left leader Sitaram Yechury meeting NCP's Tariq Anwar and former JDU leader Sharad Yadav.
In an unprecedented move, four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court had accused the CJI in January 2018 of not adhering to the rules in assigning cases to appropriate benches, which they said could create "doubts" about the integrity of the top court.
Speaking to the media at the residence of Justice Chelameswar, the judges had said the SC administration was "not in order" and had released an undated letter they had written to Justice Misra in which they conceded that the CJI was the "master of the roster" but this was "not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual, of the Chief Justice over his colleagues".