BCD issues summon to Prashant Bhushan to show-cause why disciplinary action may not be taken
Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) has issued summons to Advocate Prashant Bhushan through a letter dated September 21. Advocate Prashant Bhushan has been asked to present himself before the BCD on October 23 at 4 pm.
The Bar Council of India (BCI) has determined that it is appropriate to review the tweets and statements made by Advocate Prashant Bhushan, which led to his conviction in the light of the criminal contempt proceedings brought against him suo-moto by Supreme Court.
Supreme Court vide its order dated August 31 held Prashant Bhushan guilty in criminal contempt proceeding and sentenced him to pay a fine of Rupee One. The order also speaks 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.
A meeting of General Council of the Bar Council of India was held on September 3 in which it has been decided that Mr. 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,"
The Council of India through its letter dated 06/09/2020 directed the Bar Council of Delhi, where Mr. Bhushan is enrolled as an Advocate, to examine the matter and proceed as per law and rules. It has been also directed by BCI to take a decision as expeditiously as possible.
Bar Council of Delhi in its resolution dated 18.09.2020 has taken cognizance of the letter written to it by the Bar Council of India on dated 06.09.2020, forwarded therewith two tweets and judgments dated 14.08.2020 and 31.08.2020 delivered by the Supreme Court holding Advocate Prashant Bhushan guilty of Criminal Contempt of Court.
The letter issued by BCD seeks Bhushan to file his reply within 15 days of receipt of this letter as to why disciplinary proceedings may not be initiated against him under Sections 24A and 35 of the Advocates' Act, 1961 for his tweets and in view of the contempt of court verdict.
The Letter also states that if bhushan failed to file his reply within stipulated time it will be assumed that he did not wish to reply and if does not appear before the council on day of hearing the proceedings will be conducted ex-parte.
“Please note further that in case of the Council does not receive any reply or response from you within the aforesaid time period, it will be taken that you do not wish to file any reply”.
“It is further informed that in case you do not choose to appear before the council on the date fixed, the proceedings shall be taken ex-parte”. Letter clarifies
The letter also clarifies that Advocate Bhushan may appear physically in person or through council in the BCD office unless he chose to appear by virtual mode.
Section 24A deals with disqualification for enrolment whereas Section 35 deals with punishment of advocates for misconduct. Under Section 35, if a disciplinary committee of the State Bar Council finds a lawyer guilty of professional misconduct, he may be reprimanded, suspended or removed from the rolls of the Bar Council.