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9 days before CJI Mishra impeachment news broke, BCI presciently got active against (basically Cong) MP-lawyers

Very prescient BCI takes pre-emptive measures to protect CJI
Very prescient BCI takes pre-emptive measures to protect CJI

On 27 March 2018 Times Now had exclusively that Congress and other opposition parties were drafting an impeachment motion against Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Mishra.

Yet, somehow, if the purported Bar Council of India (BCI) resolution obtained by [http://www.livelaw.in/bci-bars-lawyer-parliamentarians-participate-impeachment-process-read-resolution/ Live Law is authentic, the BCI passed a resolution 9 days before then, on 18 March, on the complaint of BJP leader Ashwani Kumar Upadhyaya.

The majority of the BCI resolved that “once the process of removal of a Judge of a High Court or of Supreme Court, Advocates who are also M.Ps should not be allowed to appear before that Court/Judge”.

And it appears that the BCI was seized of the idea of impeachments by political parties back in January already, with a sub-committee of the BCI having apparently recommended something similar on 22 January.

According to LiveLaw’s report of the press conference announced by the BCI to take place at 2pm today:

While addressing a press conference here in Delhi Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said The decision of BCI is not recommendatory but binding to all practicing lawyers. We are not naming anyone. But if someone breaks this condition we will take legal action.

See resolution above, courtesy of Live Law.

In principle, such a decision has some common sense on its side: after all, after initiating impeachment proceedings against a judge, that judge is unlikely to be give a fair hearing to the advocate.

However, when we’re talking about the CJI, it could disqualify most of the opposition front-bench lawyers from arguing in the meatiest cases before the Supreme Court, so this is clearly appears to be a targeted move by Mishra and the BCI to ingratiate itself to the ruling party (yet again).

(Incidentally, Mishra has stood for re-elections to the Bihar bar council, where elections happened on 27 March after having been years overdue and terms, including Mishra’s, having long expired).

Now, unless that resolution was inspiration for the impeachment motion of the CJI (despite BCI resolutions generally being guarded and kept in secret by the BCI, despite technically being public documents made by a statutory authority), it seems that the BCI (and BJP) knew something was brewing that journalists didn’t.

Finally, lest it be construed that the staunchly independent regulator of lawyers harboured even the inkling of any intentions of upsetting the government or the CJI, the BCI also added in its announcement of the press conference a refutation of an India Today article (since amended), that it would discuss government interference in the judiciary:

The Bar Council of India would like to clarify that the news published by India Today at Indiatoday.in on March 30, 2018 with the subject heading “Bar Council to discuss Justice Chelameshwar’s letter to CJI flagging govt interference” is totally erroneous and incorrect news.

The Bar Council of India would like to clarify, as stated above that the same is not at all in the agenda to be discussed by the Bar Council of India in its General Council Meeting scheduled to be held on 31.03.2018.

And, in another announcement, the BCI also added that for once it had not actually called for a strike:

This is to inform to all the concerned that Bar Council of India has not given any call for abstention from work on 31.03.2018. The news being spread in this regard on social media is absolutely incorrect, false and misleading.

So there, know we know.

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