New Delhi: Paving the way for proceeding against a lawyer who allegedly tried to influence a Madras High Court judge by taking former Telecom Minister A Raja`s name, the Supreme Court today vacated its stay and asked Bar Council of India (BCI) to decide the complaint against him.
"We vacate the interim order of December 15, 2010, and permit BCI to take further action in terms of the direction given by the High Court. BCI shall take immediate step on the complaint without being influenced by anything," a bench comprising justices DK Jain and HL Dattu said.
The apex court had stayed the Madras High Court order asking the BCI to initiate disciplinary action against advocate R K Chandramohan, who was the Chairman of Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
The High Court had on December 7 suspended Chandramohan from chairmanship of Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for allegedly attempting to influence Justice R Regupathy in a case by taking the name of Raja.
Appearing for advocate Chandramohan, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi contended the High Court does not have the power to direct the suspension of the membership of an advocate, which is granted under a statute.
But the bench was not convinced by his arguments and said "we are not inclined to interfere. The Bar council can decide without being influenced by anybody."
"Prima facie, we are not inclined to accept your contention that the High Court cannot pass such order," the bench said.
It also expressed displeasure that BCI was not represented before it in the case despite being issued a notice.
Rohatgi submitted Chandramohan was not officiating as the Chairman of the state Bar council in view of the coming election of the lawyer`s body and handed over the charge to the Advocate General of Tamil Nadu.
Justice Reghupati had alleged that Chandramohan had entered his chamber and pleaded that the case of a father and a son, accused in a marks scandal case in Puducherry, for anticipatory bail be considered favourably as they were "family friends" of Raja.
The lawyer then handed over his mobile phone to the judge, saying the "union minister is on the line to have a talk with me", the judge had revealed in his letter of July 7, 2009, to the then Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan.
"I discouraged such conduct of Mr. Chandramohan and told him that the case would be disposed of in accordance with law, if listed before me," Justice Reghupati had said in his letter of July 7, 2009 to Justice Balakrishnan.
Justice Reghupati, who has since retired, had in his letter, complained about Chandramohan`s "outburst and uncontrollable" behaviour.