Judge’s Recusal: Kerala Bar Council Issues Show-cause Notice: 24 April 2014

The Bar Council of Kerala on Wednesday decided to take action against Advocate K Thavamony, who allegedly attempted to influence the judge hearing the petitions in the bar licence case.

As a first step in this direction, the Bar Council has decided to issue show-cause notice to the advocate, asking him to explain why action should not be taken against him.

Bar Council chairman T H Abdul Azeez told ‘Express’ that the council took the decision after finding that prima facie Thavamony’s action amounted to professional misconduct. According to the Advocates’ Act, the advocate has to adhere to a standard of conduct which is befitting of his status and responsibility. Under the Act, the concerned State Bar Council can take disciplinary action against any advocate who is found guilty of professional or other misconduct, the chairman pointed out.

Justice C T Ravi Kumar had, on Tuesday, recused himself from hearing the petitions filed by the bar owners in the state seeking a directive to renew the FL-3 liquor licences for running their bars, after the advocate allegedly tried to influence the judge.

He also recalled his judgment which was to be pronounced in the case. The judge said that Advocate K Thavamony had come to his residence and tried to discuss the issue concerning the case. The Bar Council’s action came following the order of the court and various news reports in this regard.

“If the explanations are not satisfactory, the matter will be sent to the disciplinary committee of the council. After collecting evidence, the committee will take appropriate action against the advocate,” the chairman said.

Meanwhile, a section of legal lumineries have come forward justifying the decision of the judge. According to Advocate Kaleeswaram Raj, the judge who recused himself from passing the order in the Abkari case has only acted fairly. His decision to abstain from the decision has had the effect of upholding the majesty of the law and judicial institution. He has maintained the serenity of the judicial process.

“It is an incident that conveys serious lessons to lawyers. Advocates, even in private cases, are performing a public duty. The profession has a public character. The lawyer is situated between the state and the citizen. He or she is supposed to perform a democratic and libertarian task. The lawyers should see that their professional conduct fits with the institutional grandeur. Any derailment would shatter the common man’s confidence in the system,” Raj said.

“However, merely for the reason that the judge has recused himself does not mean that the lawyer is guilty. It requires further probe. The Bar Council has rightly sought an explanation from the lawyer concerned.

“The lawyer has, however, every entitlement to explain the circumstances and to put up his defence. That apart, it is high time that the members of the Bar remember the words of John Rawls, who eloquently said that ‘justice is fairness’.

“Principles of fairness apply not only to the Bench but to the Bar as well.  It should, in fact, start from the Bar,” he said.

…………..  By Express News Service – KOCHI .. Published: 24th April 2014 07:39 AM . Last Updated: 24th April 2014 07:39 AM

http://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/kochi/Judges-Recusal-Bar-Council-Issues-Show-cause-Notice/2014/04/24/article2186199.ece

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