No action taken against advocates by state Bar Council in past five years
An application was filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act by an activist Alka Shah with the State Bar Council regarding the complaints received and action taken against lawyers. Reply to the application has revealed that the Bar Council of Maharashtra & Goa has not taken disciplinary action against any of its members in the last five years. The council has over 1.25 lakh advocates enrolled with it and is responsible for taking action in cases of charges of violation of ethics code against it members. The Bar Council informed that it receives nearly 250 complaints against advocates for alleged misconduct each year and no action has been taken since 2005.
Lawyers are expected to follow a higher standard of ethics by the public and law. They are prohibited from disclosure of the confidential and privileged communication they share with the clients, including their ex-clients. The Bar Council has a disciplinary committee to deal with all such complaints and action is taken after conducting enquiries wherever required. The result may vary from a simple reprimand to removal from the bar.
The Bar Council said in the reply that lawyers are not permitted to use defamatory language in the letters to clients. The reply added that a conviction order from a court is not mandatory to take a disciplinary action against a lawyer.
While the state council figures reveal a clean slate, it would be interesting to see the figures on an all India level which are not expected to be any different. Will the Bar Councils collectively rise to the occasion and take up a self cleansing drive?