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Delhi High Court restrains Bar Council of Delhi from passing order in disciplinary proceedings against Prashant Bhushan

Rule 8 framed by the Bar Council of India under Section 49(1)(c) of the Advocates Act, 1961 read as follows:

“8. An Advocate shall not appear in or before any Court or Tribunal or any other authority for or against an organisation or an institution, society or corporation, if he is a member of the Executive Committee of such organisation or institution or society or corporation. “Executive Committee,” by whatever name it may be called, shall include any Committee or body of persons which, for the time being, is vested with the general management of the affairs of the organisation or institution, society or corporation.

Provided that this Rule shall not apply to such a member appearing as “amicus curiae‟ or without a fees in a matter affecting the affairs or a Bar Council, Incorporated Law Society or a Bar Association.”

Besides challenging the above Rule, Bhushan also sought quashing of the complaint against him for violation of the said Rule.

As per the complaint, Bhushan appeared on behalf of organizations such as CPIL, Common Cause, and Swaraj Abhiyan despite being a member of the Executive Committees of these organizations.

In his petition, Bhushan has contended that an interpretation of Rule 8 that bars an advocate from representing an organization of which he is a member of the executive body in public interest cases, without any fees, would be arbitrary and unconstitutional.

It is submitted that there is absolutely no rationale or justification for a rule which bars an organization from engaging one of its own members to represent it in a case which it takes up in public interest.

Such an interpretation is also discriminatory since the proviso exempts lawyers appearing as Amicus Curiae or those appearing without fee for the Bar Council or for any other Bar Associations, etc, it is said.

Source: Barandbench

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