Contempt petition filed against Chairman Milind Patil & the erring members of State Bar Council.
State Bar Council’s concerned members are accused of making comments on merits of the sub-judiced PIL against Justice Smt. Revati Mohite Dere and thereby trying to interfere the proceedings and influence the adjudication by the court.
Petitioner sought to disqualify & debar the responsible State Bar Council members for lifetime for acting against the Bar Council of India Rules and binding precedents of the Supreme Court and also showing their lack of knowledge.
Prosecution Under Section 409, 120(B) of IPC is also prayed for misusing the public property for unauthorised purposes.
Many Bar Associations condemned the State Bar council for their unlawful activities thereby defaming the noble profession of advocacy.
Mumbai: The attempt by State Bar Council to browbeat the petitioner has bounced back on them as the petitioner Mursalin Shaikh has filed a contempt petition against the Chairman and other responsible members of the State Bar Council who supported the unlawful, contemptuous and unconstitutional resolution. The Petitioner demanded imposition of cost of Rs. 5 Crores on each guilty members with life time debarment from the noble profession of advocacy.
Bar Council’s earlier defeat in the High Courts and The Supreme Court:
Earlier, the State Bar Council had lost the battle in petitions in High Court and one in Contempt petition [Bar Council of Maharashtra Vs. State of Maharashtra, 2009 SCC OnLine Bom 424; Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa Vs. State of Maharashtra, 2011 SCC OnLine Bom 1103].
The Bar Council of India had lost their battle before the Supreme Court in the case of Bar Council of India v. High Court, Kerala, (2004) 6 SCC 311.
1. Brief Background of the case:
1.1. Human Rights Activist Mursalin Shaikh on 9th March, 2023 had filed a PIL before Hon’ble Bombay High Court requesting prosecution of Justice Smt. Revati Mohite Dere & Ors., for misuse of the power and committing offences of forgery, perjury and contempt in granting relief to Smt. Chanda Kochar, Ex- Chairman of ICICI Bank in a multi crore scam being investigated by CBI.
1.2. The summary of the charges levelled in the petition by Mursalin Shaikh was that the CBI charged Chanda Kochar under Section 409 of Indian Penal Code where punishment is life imprisonment, but Smt. Justice Revati Mohite Dere suppressed those facts and order of the CBI court and granted bail to Chanda Kochar by falsely and incorrectly mentioning that the charges against Chanda Kochhar are of only seven years imprisonment.
The Petitioner pointed out other instance where Justice Smt. Revati Mohite Dere adopted similar modes oprandi to grant bail to MLA Dilip Mohite by suppressing allegations of conspiracy of attempt to murder, police officers and provision of Section 307 of Indian Penal Code.
1.3. The Petitioner also gave treatment of injustice and discrimination of junior and majority of the advocates by Justice Smt. Revati Mohite Dere in not listing their cases and not hearing them well. The case of only few selected advocates was being based on priority.
1.4. The Petitioner pointed out that Justice Smt. Revati Mohite Dere’s real sister, Smt. Vandana Chavan is MP from NCP and therefore as per ‘Judges Ethics Code’ and law laid down by the Supreme Court and High Court Justice Smt. Revati Mohite Dere was disqualified to hear the case is related with that party. But then also she heard their cases and granted an unwarranted relief of them.
1.5. Said PIL went viral and many victims Advocates and Bar Association extended their support to the Petitioner.
1.6. Thereafter, in a significant development Chief Justice of Bombay High Court withdrawn the said assignment of Justice Smt. Revati Mohite Dere wide sitting list issued on 24.03.2023.
1.7. The abovesaid PIL No. 6900 of 2023 against Justice Smt. Revati Mohite Dere is still sub- Judice before the bench of Acting Chief Justice.
1.8. After a period 5 days, i.e., on 29. 03.2023 the State Bar Council had issued a press note saying that they have decided to conduct enquiry against the advocate for filing PIL against Judge and said PIL is frivolous and an attempt to gain cheap publicity. It is the stand of State Bar Council that no case can be filed against a judge because of provisions of Judge Protection Act, 1985.
1.9. Against the said press note, the petitions had filed IA in the main petition and sought prosecution and action against State Bar Council member stating that it is an attempt to overreach the court and interference in the court proceeding because the matter is still sub-judice.
1.10. State Bar Council had earlier lost a battle before Bombay High Court two times and one in a contempt case.
2. The prayers in the application against Bar Council filed by the Petitioner reads thus;
It is therefore humbly requested that this Hon’ble Court may please to;
(a) To hold that the Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa is not having any jurisdiction to give verdict/judgment about the outcome of the PIL/Petition or any sub-judice matter and such conduct of any advocate or Bar Council members is grossest professional misconduct as per specific law laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Madhavendra L. Bhatnagar v. Bhavna Lall, (2021) 2 SCC 775.
(b) To hold that the threat of proposed action by Respondent No. 1 Bar Council in their press -note against the petitioner Advocate for filing petition in the court with ulterior motive to pressurize and deter the petitioner and his advocate from performing their constitutional duty and exercising their fundamental rights under Article 226, 32, 215,129 of the Constitution of India and is a clear case of interference in the due course of administration of justice and a case of grossest contempt as has been ruled by three Judge Bench of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Arnab Goswami vs. Secretory Maharashtra Legislative Assembly 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1100 and this Hon’ble Court in Mrs. Damayanti G. Chandiraman V.S. Vaney AIR 1966 Bom 19, H. Syama Sunder Rao vs. Union Of India 2007 SCC OnLine Del 2626, Kishor M.Gadhave Patil Vs State Of Maharashtra 2016 (5) Mah.L.J. 75 ;
(c) To hold that the press note at Exhibit B issued by Respondent No.1 & 2 is ex- facie against the Bar Council of India Rules and Contempt of Hon’ble Supreme Court judgment in the case of R. MuthukrishnanVs.The Registrar General 2019 SCC OnLine SC 105 where it is specifically ruled that it is a duty of the advocate to make complaint against the Judges when they are having authentic material and any attempt on the part of any authority to obstruct said duty of the advocates and to make sycophant, subservient and servile bar is unconstitutional and illegal;
(d) Forward a reference of contempt to Hon’ble Supreme Court as per law laid down in Re: Vinay Chandra Mishra (1995) 2 SCC 584 against the erring members of the Bar Council and others who abated, facilitated and are involved in the conspiracy to undermine deliberate and disregard of binding precedents of Supreme Court and thereby to the majesty and dignity of the binding precedents of Hon’ble Supreme Court R. MuthukrishnanVs.The Registrar General 2019 SCC OnLine SC 105, Arnab Ranjan Goswami Vs. Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly and Others 2020 SCC OnLine SC 1100
(e) To hold that the act of respective Respondent No. 1 Chairman of Bar Council in taking decision and passing resolutions in utter disregard and defiance of binding precedents of Hon’ble Supreme Court and this Hon’ble Court which shows lack of basic knowledge of law and also an attempt to belittle and undermine the majesty and dignity of the court and an offence of grossest contempt of Court; and it is a ground for debarring such members for lifetime from appearing in any court’s in Maharashtra & Goa including High Courts as per law as per Article 215 of the Constitution of India and law laid down in N. Natrajan Vs. B.K. Subba Rao (2003) 2 SCC 76.
And an independent committee of the senior members need to be constituted for investigation of the grossest misconduct on the part of said members and appropriate punishment as per sec 35 of the Advocates Act, 1961;
(f) To try and punish the responsible members of the Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa under Section 2(b), 2(c), 12 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 read with Article 215 of the Constitution of India and impose the maximum punishment as per law & Ratio laid down in Court On Its Own Motion vs Rajiv Dawar 2007 I AD (DELHI) 567, by holding that when advocates and more particularly, members of the Bar Council as a body have engaged in an act of acting in utter disregard and defiance of the binding precedents and trying to damage the institution of justice then the damage to the noble profession is the gravest as they are supposed to protect and uphold the law and not cause damage to the justice system and thus they do not deserve any leniency or magnanimity.
(g) Grant an interim compensation of ₹5 Crores to be paid by the Respondent No. 1 Shri. Milind Patil, Chairman, Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa and by each erring members as per the law and the ratio laid down in the case of Indirect Tax Association Vs. R. K. Jain (2010) 8 SCC 281, Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan vs Union of India (2019) 14 SCC 761;
(h) Direct CBI or State Police to register FIR Under Section 409 r/w Section 109, 120(B) and 34, 52 of the Indian Penal Code against the erring members of the Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa who mis utilized , misused the public money for unauthorised and unlawful purposes;
(i) To hold that the attempt in the part of Respondent No. 1 Bar Council in prejudicing the cause of petitioner by pressurising the advocates to represent the case is violative of fundamental rights of the petitioner to be defended by a lawyer of his choice and their resolution is liable to be declared as constitutional as per specific law laid down by Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of A.S.Mohammed Rafi vs State Of Tamilnadu (2011) SCC
(j) To give directions as per Article 215 of the Constitution and law laid down by this Hon’ble Court in the case of Nilesh Navalakha Vs. UOI 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 56 and direct Respondent No 3 & 4 Live Law, Resp. No. 5 Daily Sakal and other media that they should not publish any one sided and distorted news without first taking view/say of petitioner or his advocates/counsels;
(k) To hold that in view of specific law laid down by Nine Judge Bench of Hon’ble Supreme Court in Naresh Shridhar Mirajkar Vs. State of Maharashtra AIR 1967 SC 1, and by various High Courts that whenever any petition is filed in the court then it is a publication and its publication in media cannot be prohibited except the in jurisdiction under Article 215 of the Constitution and until the parameter laid down by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court and explained by Hon’ble Bombay High Court in the case of Nilesh Navalakha Vs. UOI 2021 SCC OnLine Bom 56, are fulfilled.
(l) To hold that in view of specific law laid down by the constitution Benches of Hon’ble Supreme Court in the cases of Subramanian Swamy Vs. Arun Shourie (2014) 12 SCC 344, Bathina Ramakrishna Reddy AIR 1952 SC 149, Indirect Tax Association Vs. R.K.Jain 2010) 8 SCC 281 Dr. Aniruddha Bahal Vs. State 2010 (119) DRJ 102,that it is right of every citizen to have fair, transparent and incorruptible judiciary and whenever any citizen comes to know about the malpractices , corruptions, misuse of power by any judge then it is in the larger public interest that such thing should be published and it is duty of every citizen to expose such a thing as Article 51 (a) of the constitution of India, and any attempt to obstruct such duty will be treated as interference in the administration of justice and obstacles will be liable for action under section 2(c) of Contempt of Court Ac 1971
(m) Direct appropriate authority of central/state Government to verify the grievance of the petitioner against Live Law and its reporter, Editor etc. and take appropriate action regarding cancellation of their license for their act of deliberate commission and omission to prejudice the cause of Petitioner & their advocates and thereby causing interference in the administration of justice.
You can download the copy pf the IA here