The Supreme Court on Monday extended its order staying the Madras High Court judgment suspending advocate R.K. Chandramohan's status as Member and, consequently, as Chairman of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, on the basis of a letter written by Justice R. Regupathi, former Judge, to the then High Court Chief Justice H.L. Gokhale, relating to an alleged incident that happened in his chambers.
Acting on a special leave petition filed by Mr. Chandramohan challenging the High Court judgment, a Bench of Justice D.K. Jain and Justice H.L. Dattu had on December 15, 2010, also stayed the direction given to the Bar Council of India to take over the complaint filed against him and to dispose of the same in accordance with law.
During the resumed hearing on Monday the Bench, after hearing senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi appearing for the appellant and counsel Prashant Bhushan for the respondent, Elephant G. Rajendran, issued notice to the Bar Council of India, extended its stay order and directed the matter to be listed after two weeks.
When Justice Jain asked Mr. Bhushan whether the High Court had the power to suspend the practice of the appellant, Mr. Bhushan pointed out that the High Court had never suspended his practice.
It had only suspended him from being a Member of the State Bar Council and, consequently, as its Chairman.
“Misread the judgment”
At this juncture, Mr. Justice Jain conceded: “We have misread the judgment. At least I thought that the appellant's practice has been suspended.”
Mr. Bhushan said the High Court had been very mild; it should have initiated contempt proceedings against the appellant who tried to influence a judge in a bail matter.
It amounted to interference in the administration of justice.
He argued that a person holding the post of Chairman of the State Bar Council going to the judge's chamber and using the name of a Union Minister was the grossest interference in the administration of justice. Considering the gravity of the offence, what the High Court had done was only the minimum. He urged the Bench not to extend the stay as it would send wrong signals.
Mr. Rohatgi argued that the High Court had rendered a finding without even putting on record Justice Regupathi's letter.
When Mr. Justice Jain asked counsel why the appellant had not filed a reply on merits, Mr. Rohatgi explained that only the maintainability of the petition was argued. He [appellant] did not admit the alleged act complained against him.