Adv. Shakeel Khan, who is enrolled (Enrollment No. D/904/1994) as an Advocate at The Bar Council of Delhi was alleged of advertising himself as a specialist in divorce and court matters, by pasting his mobile number on the public walls of South Delhi.
The matter soon came to the notice of The Bar Council of Delhi. The Council temporarily suspended the license of practice of Adv. Shakeel Khan, by its order on 23 November 2020. The Council observed that there was "gross violation" of Rule 36 to Section IV (Duty to Colleagues) of Chapter II (Standards of Professional Conduct and Etiquette) of Part VI (Rules Governing Advocates) of the BCI Rules, as was published in the Indian Gazette on 6 September 1975, in its original form. Rule 36 reads as follows:
“Rule 36: An advocate shall not solicit work or advertise, either directly or indirectly, whether by circulars, advertisements, touts, personal communications, interviews not warranted by personal relations, furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments or producing his photographs to be published in connection with cases in which he has been engaged or concerned. His sign-board or name-plate should be of a reasonable size. The sign-board or name-plate or stationery should not indicate that he is or has been President or Member of a Bar Council or of any Association or that he has been associated with any person or organisation or with any particular cause or matter or that he specialises in any particular type of worker or that he has been a Judge or an Advocate General.”
On a bare perusal of the Rule 36, it may be learnt that it infers an almost complete disallowance to advertisement by advocates. The Bar Council of Delhi also observed that Khan is said to have violated the provisions of the Delhi Prevention of Defacement of Property Act, 2007. Section 3 of the Act states that whoever defaces any property in public view by writing or marking with ink, chalk, paint or any other material except for the purpose of indicating the name and address of the owner or occupier of such property, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees, or with both. The staff of Bar Council of Delhi also contacted Mr. Shakeel Khan on his mobile number, which prima-facie proves that Mr. Shakeel Khan has committed professional misconduct or other misconduct. In the light of facts and circumstances, the Council has suspended Khan from practicing as an Advocate for a period of 8 weeks with immediate effect and in the meanwhile, a notice has been issued to him to show cause why his name be not removed permanently from the rolls of Bar Council of Delhi. Last year also, the BCD had cautioned all Advocates registered with it against advertising their services and soliciting work. Earlier, the bench of the Supreme Court of India, comprising of Hon’ble Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, Hon’ble Justices N. Subhash Reddy and A.S. Bopanna, on 14 July 2020 issued a notice to the Bar Council of India, in response to a plea to allow advocates to advertise on several fora till March 2021, considering the impediments of the COVID - 19 lockdown(Charanjeet Chanderpal v. Bar Council of India & Ors., W.P. (Civil) No. 627 of 2020). But several other State Bar Councils have reprimanded the advertisement of legal services and have taken suo moto strict disciplinary action against the advocates who have advertised their services.