Delhi Bar Council summons Bhushan over contempt case conviction

New Delhi, Sep 23 (IANS) The Bar Council of Delhi has issued summons to advocate Prashant Bhushan to appear before it next month and also asked why disciplinary proceedings should not be initiated against him to revoke his enrolment as a lawyer in view of his conviction by the Supreme Court for his contemptuous tweets.

“You are required to appear in person or through an authorised advocate on your behalf on October 23 at 4 P.M. in the office of the Council for personal hearing. You may appear physically or through virtual conferencing as suited to you,” Delhi’s bar body wrote in a letter dated September 21.

The activist-lawyer has also been directed to send his response, within 15 days, after the letter’s receipt as to why “disciplinary proceedings may not be initiated against him under Sections 24A and 35A of the Advocates’ Act, 1961 for his tweets and in view of the contempt of court verdict.”

“In case the Council does not receive any reply or response from you (Bhushan) within the aforesaid time period, it will be taken that you do not wish to file the reply. In case you do not choose to appear before the Council on the date fixed, the proceedings shall be taken ex-parte,” it added.

The state Bar Council grants a license to a person to practice as a lawyer and has powers to either suspend or take away this right of its members, under certain situations, under the Advocates Act.

Bhushan, who is enrolled as an advocate under the Bar Council of Delhi, acknowledged receiving the notice on his Twitter account on Wednesday.

“Now the Bar Council’s notice on the basis of the SC order on my ‘Contempt’! It cites Sec 24A of the Advocates Act which says that an Advocate will not be enrolled if convicted for an offence of moral turpitude. For the Bar Council, Contempt by critical comment is moral turpitude!” Bhushan wrote in a tweet.

A bench headed by Justice Aruna Mishra (since retired) and comprising B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari had convicted Bhushan for two of his tweets against the judiciary and imposed a fine of Re 1 on him.

The Bar Council of Delhi shot the letter to the lawyer after the Bar Council of India asked it to examine the conviction of Bhushan and proceed as per law.

The BCI resolution had said: “The General Council of the Bar Council of India has unanimously resolved to direct the Bar Council of Delhi, where Prashant Bhushan is enrolled as an Advocate, to examine the matter and proceed as per law and rules to decide the same as expeditiously as possible.”

The apex bar council had said it is of the view that the tweets and statements made by Bhushan and verdict of the apex court need thorough study and examination by the Bar Council in the light of statutory duties, powers and functions conferred on it under the Advocates Act, 1961.

–IANS

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