The Supreme Court on Thursday came to the rescue of senior advocates K.K. Venugopal, P.P. Rao and Ranjit Kumar by staying a resolution that expelled them from the Supreme Court Bar Association.

The resolution was passed by a group of lawyers at a meeting presided over by senior advocate Ram Jethmalani.

A Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and J. Chelameswar stayed the January 16 resolution and posted a petition filed by the Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record Association for further hearing to Friday.

Earlier, Mr. Venugopal told the court that senior advocate Harish Salve was “manhandled” in the court corridors on Wednesday (after he left the court of Justice Kabir) for taking up their cause. “Nine policemen had to escort him to his car. We are afraid of even moving about in the court corridors,” he said.

Asking younger lawyers to respect seniors, Justice Kabir said: “Members of the Supreme Court Bar Association are a cut above the rest. They should uphold the decorum of the court. It will be a shame if the image of the judiciary suffers. The judiciary is the institution holding this nation together... keeping a balance. For God's sake don't destroy this institution.”

On Wednesday, soon after Mr. Salve came out of the court of Justice Kabir, he was heckled by a section of lawyers when he attempted to raise the issue in the Chief Justice's court.

The controversy arose after 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 Supreme Court Bar Association office bearers' elections.

Those opposing the stringent conditions convened a meeting and expelled the three senior advocates who were in-charge of the committee entrusted with implementing the judgment. Most of the members who attended the January 16 meeting did not want the judgment to be implemented.

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