Now, Bar Council of Delhi notice to Prashant Bhushan to examine possibility of disciplinary action against him
It has taken cognisance of the two controversial tweets posted by him and the Supreme Court’s consequential verdict holding him guilty of criminal contempt
Taking cognisance of the two controversial tweets by advocate Prashant Bhushan and the Supreme Court's consequential verdict holding him guilty of criminal contempt, the Bar Council of Delhi has asked him to appear before itself to show cause as to why action under section 24A and section 35 of the Advocates' Act not be proceeded with against him, legal news website LiveLaw.in has reported.
"In its resolution dated 18.09.2020, the Bar Council of Delhi has taken cognizance of the letter dated 06.09.2020, written to it by the Bar Council of India, forwarded therewith two tweets and judgments dated 14.08.2020 and 31.08.2020 delivered by the Supreme Court holding him guilty of Criminal Contempt of Court. In the said letter of the BCI, the BCD has been directed to examine the matter, and proceed as per law and rules to decide the same," reads the correspondence of the BCD.
Bhushan has been required to appear in person or through an authorised advocate on 23.10.2020 at 4 PM in the office of the BCD for a personal hearing, unless he wishes to exercise the option of a virtual hearing.
He is also required to send his response to the Council within 15 days as to why proceedings under section 24A and 35 of the Advocates' Act be
not initiated against him in view of the tweets in question and the conviction. While section 24A disqualifies a person from being enrolled as an advocate on a conviction for an offence involving moral turpitude, section 35 provides for disciplinary proceedings against an advocate for professional or other misconduct, which may result in reprimand, suspension from practice or even removal from the rolls of the concerned Bar Council.
The BCD has cautioned Bhushan that if his response is not received within the stipulated time, it will be presumed that he does not wish to reply, and that proceedings will be conducted ex parte in case he chooses not to appear before the Council.
On August 14, a 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court had held Bhushan guilty of contempt of court for his tweets against the SC and the Chief Justices of India. He was heard on sentence on August 20, whereby he was granted time to reflect upon his statements and tender an unconditional apology. However, after he stood firm on his statements, the Supreme Court sentenced him to pay a fine of Rupee one, vide order dated August 31. It was clarified that on failure to pay the said amount, he shall have to undergo imprisonment for three months and will be debarred from practice in SC for three years.
Subsequently, the Bar Council of India resolved that it is necessary to examine the tweets and statements made by Prashant Bhushan that led to his conviction under the criminal contempt proceedings instituted suo moto by the Supreme Court.
In a meeting of the General Council of the BCI on September 3, it was decided that Bhushan's statements need to be examined in light of Section 24A (Disqualification for enrolment) and Section 35 (Punishment of advocates for misconduct) of the Advocates Act, 1961 and Chapter-II,
Part-VI (Standards of Professional Conduct and Etiquette) of Bar Council of India Rules.
"The Council is of the view that the tweets and statements made by Shri Prashant Bhushan, Advocate and the Judgment of the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India needs thorough study and examination by the Bar Council in the light of the statutory duties, powers and functions conferred on it under the Advocates' Act, 1961 and the rules framed thereunder, particularly, Section-24A and Section-35 of the Advocates Act, 1961 and Chapter-II, Part-VI of Bar Council of India Rules," a press note issued to this effect states.
The Council has therefore directed the Bar Council of Delhi, where Bhushan is enrolled as an Advocate, to examine the matter and proceed as per law and rules. It has been directed that a decision thereon be take, as expeditiously as possible.