The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court came to the rescue of an advocate who was suspended by Nagercoil Bar Association for not participating in the court boycott announced by the association on 8th December 2020.
A division bench of Justices N Kirubakaran
and B Pugalendhi
made the observation while hearing a petition filed by the advocate G Sivakumar of Kanniyakumari challenging the action of the association. Background :
An Advocate, who went to the Court to address the grievance of his clients, has come as a party before this Court voicing his concern that he has been prevented from entering into the Court as well as the Bar Room, in which Association, he is a Member. The case of the petitioner is that the second respondent, 'Nagercoil Bar Association' called for a boycott of the Courts on 08.12.2020 with regard to the farmers issue and the said decision is said to have been circulated through Social Media. As a dutiful lawyer to safeguard the interest of his client, the petitioner attended the Court duty and argued a case before the Judicial Magistrate which irked the Association to suspend the petitioner from the Association, after issuing an alleged Show Cause Notice. Resultantly, he is being prevented from entering into Courts, denying his statutory right to discharge his obligation to his client. Moreover, he is prevented from entering into the Association, Library and Wash Room. Court Observation:
The Court while ardently opposing the strike stated that “Bar leaders are neither labour leaders nor political leaders to call for a strike and they are advocates belonging to a noble profession.”
The Court noted that “Legal profession is a noble profession, where Advocates are supposed to discharge their duties not only towards their clients and also duties to the Society. However, now-a-days, quite often, Advocates are indulging in strikes and disturbing the functioning of Courts. Even for political reasons, some of the Associations are indulging in boycotts, according to the political affinity or communal affiliations and various other reasons. This results in affecting not only the rights of the litigants, but also the Advocates, who are ready to discharge their statutory duty as per the Advocates Act and the Bar Council Rules.”
The court analysed the provision Tamilnadu Welfare Fund Act and observed as follows: Section 14A of the Tamilnadu Welfare Fund Act empowers the Bar Council to cancel the recognition and registration of any Bar Association/Advocates Association. This can be done if the Advocates/Bar Association fails to discharge any of the duties imposed upon them under Section 14 or fails to carry out the directions given under Section 9A.
The court questioned that due to these consequence a member of the Bar should always be at the mercy of the recognised associations, so as to be able to continue to practice of law ?
Terming the boycott conducted by Nagercoil Bar Association as illegal, the judges directed the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to take appropriate action against the bar association under Tamil Nadu Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 1987. They further ordered interim stay on all proceedings against Sivakumar. Since Sivakumar claimed that he was being prevented from entering the court or bar room, the judges ordered police protection to him. The matter has been adjourned to January 18, 2021 [READ ORDER]