These former ministers may be stopped from appearing in front of judges in the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
New Delhi: Multiple former Union ministers, who are now practising as lawyers, may be stopped from appearing in front of judges in the Supreme Court (SC) and High Courts, as these lawyers were part of the Union Cabinet that had appointed some of these Supreme Court and High Court judges.
Some of the former Union ministers who are presently practising as lawyers in the Supreme Court and the High Courts and had decided on the appointment of judges in these very same courts in the past include P. Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal and Salman Khurshid.
The Bar Council of India (BCI), which is a statutory body to regulate legal practice and legal education in India, has received multiple communications from its members across the country who have raised this issue.
The BCI, according to official sources, will be approaching the Supreme Court Bar Association, the various High Court bar associations and all the state bar councils to elicit their opinion on this “important” issue after normal functioning of the courts resume. “This is a massive conflict of interest scenario. How can we expect a judge to give an unbiased order when the lawyer arguing in front of him is the same person who had played a part in appointing him judge?”, a Supreme Court lawyer asked.
The BCI, in an official communication, has stated that this “issue has now become very important because not only in the matter of appointment of judges, but in the matter of engagements of government advocates and advocates for different organisations, corporations, companies, arbitration etc, only a few blessed advocates are getting the opportunity”.
“The commoners are being ignored and/or being made to suffer. Today, more than 18 lakh advocates are practicing, several thousands of them are deserving and competent, but only a few are getting all sorts of benefits. This is a matter of serious concern for the legal fraternity and the bar bodies are not supposed to sit tight over such issues,” the communication by the BCI reads.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, chairman of BCI Manan Kumar Mishra said that the BCI is yet to decide on the matter. “No decision has been taken as of now. I have suggested that this is not the right time to discuss these issues. The demand for looking into this matter has come from many lawyers across the states,” he said.