Raja-judge case: Chandramohan’s suspension stayed

The SC Wednesday stayed the Madras HC order directing suspension of advocate R K Chandramohan from chairmanship of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu for allegedly attempting to influence a judge by taking A Raja`s name.

Last Updated: Dec 15, 2010, 15:26 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday stayed
the Madras High Court order directing suspension of advocate R
K Chandramohan from chairmanship of the Bar Council of Tamil
Nadu and Puducherry for allegedly attempting to influence a
judge by taking former Telecom Minister A Raja`s name.

A bench comprising justices D K Jain and H L Dattu
also stayed the operation of the High Court direction asking
the Bar Council of India to initiate disciplinary action
against Chandramohan.

The bench, which stayed the operation of these two
directions, posted the matter for further hearing in the first
week of January.

The Madras High Court had on December 7 suspended from
the bar the top lawyer who was allegedly involved in an
attempt to influence Justice S Regupathy taking the name of
Raja.

A division bench comprising Justice FM Ibrahim
Khalifulla and Justice MM Sundaresh had said the status of
Chandramohan shall stand suspended forthwith.

He should not be permitted to function as such
pending disciplinary action by the Bar Council of India, the
bench had said.

Disposing of a petition by a lawyer, the bench had
appended a portion of a letter written by Justice Reghupati,
who had reported that Chandramohan had entered his chamber
last year 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 handed over his mobile phone to the judge,
saying that the "union minister is on the line to have a talk
with me".

"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 the then Chief Justice of India.

Justice Reghupati, who has since retired, had in his
letter, complained about Chandramohan`s "outburst and
uncontrollable" behaviour.

The apex court bench said it was only staying two of
the High Court`s directions.

Appearing for advocate Chandramohan, senior counsel
Mukul Rohatgi apprised the bench of the appeal filed by the
Madras lawyer and contended that all the directions of the
High Court were illegal except that a complaint can be filed
against the advocate.

He said the High Court does not have the power to
direct the suspension of the membership of an advocate, which
is granted under a statute.

Rohatgi said this legal position was made clear in the
apex court judgement in which it has been stated that even the
Supreme Court cannot direct suspension of an advocate.

During the brief hearing, the bench also sought to
know how the petition of quo warranto was entertained in the
matter.

During the brief hearing, advocate Elephant Rajendran,
who had filed a caveat, agreed that a writ of quo warranto
would not lie in the matter and writ of mandamus would be
applicable.

The bench, however, observed that "at the best, it
could be a case of contempt."

PTI