In an unprecedented move, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has expelled forthwith senior advocates K.K. Venugopal, P.P. Rao and Ranjit Kumar from primary membership, though a January 16 resolution passed to this effect at a meeting presided over by senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, is disputed.
On Wednesday, B. Sunita Rao, secretary, Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association, moved a petition before a Bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir to declare the resolution null and void. But the judge told senior counsel Harish Salve that he could move the application before an appropriate Bench.
The controversy arose over the move to prescribe 50 appearances for senior advocates and non-advocates on record as one of the conditions for a member to vote in the SCBA office-bearers elections. Most of the members did not want last year's judgment (fixing certain parameters) implemented. As an implementation committee was formed, the three senior lawyers were expelled.
As per the January 16 resolutions (a copy of which is available with The Hindu), the special general body meeting was held on the Supreme Court lawns. The following resolutions were passed through voice vote and by a show of hands.
SCBA president P.H. Parekh publicly announced his resignation from his post with immediate effect. “His resignation is forthwith accepted by the general body.”
“Under the Rule making powers of the SCBA (general body), it is resolved that the Supreme Court judgment dated September 26, 2011, passed in the case of SCBA vs B.D. Kaushik, should not be given effect to; the implementation committee proposed by the Supreme Court in its judgment is left with no authority to issue any list of the regular practising members of the SCBA as it has acted in a manner which is detrimental to the interest of the members of SCBA and therefore the implementation committee (IC) stands dissolved; the members of the IC, Mr. Rao, Mr. Venugopal and Mr. Ranjit Kumar are forthwith expelled from the primary membership of the SCBA and all the active members of SCBA without any classification will be eligible to vote in the annual elections, subject to their clearing the annual subscription/dues and filing of the declaration form.”
Ms. Rao's petition wants the court to declare the resolutions null and void. It sought a direction to the IC that only those members whose names were identified and declared by the IC would be entitled to participate in the elections/general body meeting or vote; to allow the IC to complete its task and a direction to declare the criteria adopted by the IC for identification of the ‘Regular Practitioners' of the Supreme Court valid and that no other criteria would be permitted.