Chennai: The Madras High Court on Thursday upheld the state Bar Council`s October 17 order suspending an advocate, who along with some others were allegedly functioning as "arbitral tribunals" in Coimbatore.
Justice K K Sasidharan said materials available on record made it very clear that these persons were indulged in illegal and unethical practices and that their actions tarnished the noble profession`s image.
Directing the disciplinary committee to take efforts to dispose of suo motu disciplinary proceedings as expeditiously as possible, the Judge said the material is sufficient for an interim suspension pending disposal of disciplinary proceedings for misconduct.
Advocate RD Vijay Anand of Coimbatore, a member of the Coimbatore Bar, had enrolled in the state Bar council on December 20 2002.
The Council initiated suo motu proceedings against Anand and five others on complaints they were working as tribunals, calling people to appear before it without any authority, passing awards and executing them through various means.
They were later suspended as the Council felt public interest would suffer if they were allowed to practice, pending disposal of disciplinary proceedings.
Anand challenged the order, contending the complaint of Coimbatore Bar Association and the Oct 16 2008 award said his name was R Vijay Anand,whereas his name is R D Vijay Anand. He said he would not indulge in illegal arbitration as he is a successful lawyer and that the Council had no right to suspend a lawyer, pending initiation of disciplinary proceedings.
In its counter, the Council produced the file of the award sanctioned by the advocate containing his signature and in the acknowledgement card, both of which were the same.
The Judge referred to several Apex Court judgments, saying the power to suspend a lawyer pending initiation and disposal of disciplinary proceedings must be in larger Public Interest.
He said the interim suspension must be an exceptional action on account of exigency of situation and gravity of misconduct. It should be in rarest of rare cases, he said, adding prolonged suspension without showing any progress in disciplinary proceedings would give a cause of action to the advocate to challenge the action.
The Judge said proceedings of the October 5 meet of Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry has basic material constituting grave charges and circumstances under which they restrained five advocates including Anand from practice till disposal of suo motu disciplinary proceedings against them.