Complaints against lawyers need to be disposed of expeditiously: SC
Says move necessary for ensuring purity of profession
New Delhi: Observing the complaints made by litigants against lawyers need to be decided at the earliest to maintain the purity of the legal profession, the Supreme Court has directed the Bar Council of India (BCI) to dispose of all such complaints by December 31, 2022.
The top court agreed to the submission of senior advocate and BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra praying for extension of time by three months to complete the inquiries into the complaints transferred to the top Bar body.
“As a last chance, we extend the time to dispose of the complaints received by the BCI and/or transferred to the BCI upto December 31, 2022. The BCI must decide and dispose of the complaints received and/or transferred to the BCI at the earliest keeping in mind that as such before the Bar Council of the concerned States, the complaints were pending for more than one year and they were required to be transferred in exercise of power under Section 36(b) of the Advocates Act, 1961,” a bench of Justices M R Shah and Krishna Murari said.
“To have the discipline and maintain the purity of the profession the complaints made by the concerned litigants are required to be disposed of at the earliest so that the litigants may continue to have the faith in the profession and in its system,” the bench said on September 29.
The top court also took note of the submission by one of the parties that despite the fact that the complaints are pending for more than one year, the State Bar Councils concerned have not transferred the cases to the Bar Council of India.
“Without expressing anything on the correctness of the statement, we once again reiterate our earlier order and direct that all concerned State Bar Councils, before whom the complaints are pending for more than one year from the date of filing, shall stand transferred to the Bar Council of India, as ordered earlier.
“The Bar council of India must ensure an early disposal of those cases which are transferred and/or deemed to have been transferred by our earlier order and the present order,” the bench said.
The top court had earlier directed the BCI to issue directions to state bar councils to dispose of the complaints against lawyers received under Section 35 of the Advocates Act within a year.
The apex court had further directed the BCI to dispose of the transferred complaints within a period of one year from the date of receipt of such complaints.
It had said complaints should be transferred from the state to BCI only in exceptional cases with valid reasons.