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Can`t pass order prohibiting kin practising in same court: SC

Last Updated: Monday, April 28, 2014 - 20:55

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said it cannot pass a judicial order on the plea seeking to prohibit the kith and kin of sitting judges of the apex court and high courts from practicing in the same courts and said any matters relating to violation of code of conduct have to be dealt by the Bar Council of India or state Bar Associations.

"This is not the function of the court. File a complaint for stopping such practice. If any member of the Bar who is not following the professional ethics, be it the son of a judge, file a complaint (with BCI or state Bar associations). There cannot be a judicial order," a bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha said.

"Whatever be the status, take the complaint to a logical conclusion and lead it with evidence," the bench, also comprising justices M B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, said.
The bench made the remarks while declining to entertain a PIL seeking to prohibit the kith and kin of sitting judges of the apex court and high courts from practicing in the same courts.

While the bench was dismissing the petition, advocate M L Sharma, who had filed the plea, preferred to withdraw it.

In an interaction with journalists after taking oath as the 41st CJI yesterday, Justice Lodha had said that there is nothing that a judge can do in such matters and it is upto the Bar to be "pro-active" and take action.

"Bar has the disciplinary control over the members. It is for the Bar to take action and closely follow the conduct of the members. What can a judge do if some lawyers do not adhere to ethics. Rules are there and Bar has to take action," he had said.

"If my son or daughter does not follow the code of conduct then Bar has to take action. Unfortunately, the role which the Bar is required to play is not being played by the Bar and unfortunately we are blamed," he had said.
The petition, in which the Centre, BCI, the apex
regulatory body of lawyers, were made respondents, alleged that "practicing of kith and kin of judges is another face of corruption".

Prohibiting them from practicing in the same courts would reinstate faith and value of the judiciary, the petition said.

The lawyer said that the Supreme Court, in its Full Court Meeting in 1997, had adopted a Charter of `The Restatement of Values of Judicial Life` which said a judge should not permit any member of his immediate family, such as spouse, son, daughter, son-in-law or daughter-in-law or any other close relative, if a member of the Bar, to appear before him or even be associated in any manner with a cause to be dealt with by him.

PTI

First Published: Monday, April 28, 2014 - 20:55

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