PIO of Bar Council: According to Rule 23(a), Part IX, the name of the Advocates shall be entered in the rolls without suffixes, prefixes, titles or degrees - The Commission found nothing wrong in using such prefix who is genuinely awarded a Ph.D degree
The appellant is present for videoconferencing at Tiruvallur. The Public Authority is represented by Mr. Ashok Kumar Pandey, Joint Secretary, Bar Council of India, New Delhi.
2. Appellant through his RTI application dated 15012013 had sought information with respect to an earlier reply of PIO, Bar council of Tamilnadu dated 261212 and stated that “It says that I have been permitted to prefix “Dr” before my name except enrollment certificate as per BCI rules and sought to know whether the public authority was confirming the same. PIO replied on 25022013. Being unsatisfied with information provided, the appellant preferred First Appeal. FAA by his Order dated 18032013 upheld the reply of PIO. Being unsatisfied with the information provided, the appellant has approached the Commission in Second Appeal.
3. Both parties made their submissions. The PIO, Bar Council of India stated that according Rule 23(a), PartIX , the name of the Advocates shall be entered in the rolls without suffixes, prefixes, titles or degrees. As the Bar Council of India is a statutory body and entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the dignity of the profession, the law and rules prescribe certain norms for the members of the law profession to follow. It is assumed that profession of lawyer is either on par with or above the other professions. At the same time, the appellant has a genuine question as to why he should not use title/prefix – Dr. (Doctor), which means that he acquired Ph.D. In this case the appellant claims that he was awarded degree of Ph.D. and he wanted to know why he should not use it. The PIO has simply cited the rule and did not go into further details regarding propriety of using such prefixes. The appellant claimed that the prefix “Dr.”is not title and it was acquired by him. It also does not cause any dent to the degree of profession of an advocate. Nowhere in the Rules of Bar Council of India, was the usage of titles like Dr. or degrees like LL.B., M.A., Ph.D. considered as misconduct. Hence the Commission observes it is a matter of accomplishment for a person who is genuinely awarded a degree of Ph.D to mention Dr prior to his name. Without going into the unnecessary debate, increasing or decreasing the dignity, if anybody uses such prefix, without having acquired degree, one can doubt the purpose. Otherwise, the Commission finds nothing wrong in using such prefix. However, such clarifications cannot be sought under section 2(f) “information” means any material in any form, including records, documents, memos, e-mails, opinions, advices, press releases, circulars, orders, logbooks, contracts, reports, papers, samples, models, data material held in any electronic form and information relating to any private body which can be accessed by a public authority under any other law for the time being in force; of the RTI Act. The appellant being an advocate and Doctor of Philosophy, he should not have approached the Bar Council for this kind of question, which cannot even be considered as request for information.
4. With the above observations, the Commission closes the appeal.
(M. Sridhar Acharyulu)
Citation: Mr. T.P.Loganathan v. Bar Council of India in File No.CIC/SS/A/2013/001133SA