: The Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana (BCPH) has sought an explanation from the district Bar president, Patiala, who presided over a meeting to resolve the suspension of work on November 10 to watch a cricket match.
On November 10, the president of the Bar, Jatinder Pal Singh Ghumaan had presided over an executive committee meeting of the district Bar in which a resolution was passed to observe “no work” after 1.30 pm that day to watch the semi-final T-20 cricket match between India and England. In the notice put out, the judicial officers, revenue courts and presiding officers of tribunals were requested to adjourn the matters to some other dates in view of this.
In the explanation sought, the BCPH has recorded that it was astonished to see the notice and says it expects high moral standards and ethical values from all Bar associations, more importantly from elected representatives. “Those who live by law should keep the law. An advocate is considered an officer of the court and an honoured member of the community. To become a member of the Bar one has to be lawful and moral not only in a professional capacity but also in a non-professional capacity,” the letter reads, adding that advocates have a continuing responsibility to uphold fundamental principles of justice from which law cannot depart.
The lawyers have to ensure that access to justice should never be put on hold, it adds.
The notice terms the act of the president a “complete departure from the established rules and professional standards as per the Bar Council of India rules and precedents. Ghumaan has been told to submit in writing why appropriate action should not be taken against him”.
The Bar council is an autonomous body under the Advocates Act 1961 and is the apex body of lawyers in states that regulates entry into the legal profession. It also has disciplinary jurisdiction and entertains and determines cases of professional misconduct against advocates. The BCPH has 1.3 lakh members from two states and Chandigarh.
In another letter, the council has sought an explanation from the president of the Bar Association, Samrala in Ludhiana, Karnail Singh Dhillon for writing a letter to presiding officers requesting them to adjourn matters of 25 advocates, including his, as they were going on a trip to the Morni Hills on November 21. The BCPH also advised him to withdraw the letter.