Tamil Nadu

Madurai Bench of Madras High Court directs Bar Council to enroll lawyer who participated in anti-Sterlite agitations

A view of Madurai Bench of Madras High Court, in Madurai. File   | Photo Credit: ASHOK R

Coming to the aid of a lawyer who had participated in the anti-Sterlite agitations, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has directed the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to enroll him as an advocate on its roll.

The Court was hearing the petition filed by K. Siva. After completing law degree from the Tirunelveli Government Law College, he applied to the State Bar Council to enroll as an advocate. The application was sent for police verification.

Following the police verification, the petitioner was told that there were more than 80 criminal cases against him. He was not called for enrollment and was orally informed that unless he obtained a Court order, he would not be permitted to be enrolled.

A Division Bench of Justices M. Duraiswamy and K. Murali Shankar observed that the right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to assemble peaceably and without arms are fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

“Moreover, every citizen has a right to comment on the policies of the government and they can have their own views on such policies. The petitioner took part in the protests raising voice against the policies of the government,” the judges said.

Perusing the status reports submitted to the court by Superintendents of Police, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli and Commissioner of Police, Tirunelveli, the judges observed that though the said involvement of the petitioner in the cases was listed out, he was not named in the FIRs.

“Nowhere was it stated that the petitioner was involved in heinous crimes or in anti-national- or anti-social activities. The cases were referred to the CBI for investigation. The petitioner was not included in the first final report or in the supplementary charge sheet.”

“The Court was at a loss to understand as to how the State Bar Council relied on police reports alone without getting any report from the CBI and without resorting to any enquiry declined his enrollment,” the judges said.

The duties of the State in protecting the environment are basically the rights of the people. In one of the cases, he was said to have raised slogans by holding banners along with other law students. The protest was towards fulfillment of a fundamental duty.

“The Court has no hesitation to hold that the enrollment of the petitioner as an advocate was unjustly being denied.” The Court directed the State Bar Council to enroll the petitioner as an advocate on the roll of the Bar Council.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 9:51:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/madurai-bench-of-madras-high-court-directs-bar-council-to-enroll-lawyer-who-participated-in-anti-sterlite-agitations/article36627270.ece

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