MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Monday directed the special disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry to hold back its inquiry against the 14 lawyers suspended recently by the Bar Council of India (BCI), following a petition raising doubts over the fairness of the probe.
The petitioner, M Mohamed Rafi, a practising lawyer from Madurai, who alleged bias towards the suspended lawyers, requested the HC bench to transfer the probe to a committee of the Bar Council of Karnataka as originally ordered by the BCI during the suspension of the 14 advocates.
Rafi claimed that the transfer of the inquiry to the three-member special disciplinary committee of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu (BCTN) and Pondicherry itself raised concerns over the fairness of the probe.He pointed out that two of the suspended lawyers, A Nedunchezhian and M Thirunavukkarasu, were co-opted members of the disciplinary committee permanently functioning under the BCTN and Pondicherry and alleged that two of the three members in the special disciplinary committee, Renganathan and Varadhan, were close to these two accused lawyers as they had sat together in the proceedings of the permanent disciplinary committee before. Rafi also alleged that the lawyers in question and members of the special disciplinary committee were having casual meetings in Chennai, thereby raising serious doubts over the fairness of the probe. The petitioner requested that the inquiry be either transferred back to Karnataka or at least the two members of the special disciplinary committee be removed.
Adjourning the hearing to October 28, the Bench asked the BCI, the BCTN and Pondicherry and the special disciplinary committee, who have been added as respondents, to respond. It may be recalled that the advocates were suspended last month after the SC and the Madras HC took a serious view on the continuous protests against the imposition of helmet rule and alleged unruly behavior by some lawyers of the Madurai Bar.