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Ironies continue: Delhi Bar Association to protest tomorrow against BCI Mishra’s plan for Rs 5 lakh misconduct penalties, demand his resignation

A BCI resolution to stiffen disciplinary penalties against lawyers, leads to other lawyer protests demanding Manan Mishra’s resignation

The Delhi Bar Association (DBA), in what it claims would be a delegation of “thousands of lawyers”, plans to march from Rohini district court to the Bar Council of India (BCI) office tomorrow (23 March) demanding the resignation of BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra over Mishra’s resolution that seeks to fine lawyers heavily for professional misconduct.

DBA member Sunil Dahiya told us today that the BCI had passed a resolution amending the disciplinary provisions in the Advocates Act 1961, to impose fines of between Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 lakh on advocates found guilty of professional misconduct, as compensation to the aggrieved party.

The unamended provision on punishment for professional misconduct, Section 35 in the Act, currently only provides aggrieved parties with limited recourse of getting advocates reprimanded by the bar council, suspended or permanently debarred from practice, but there has been no monetary compensation element available.

Dahiya commented: “We are protesting against this [resolution] because when they already collect fee from lawyers, then why this [fine] amount?”

“[Mishra] is responsible for this resolution,” he said.

At the time of going to press, Dahiya was on his way to a bar association meeting being held to organise tomorrow’s protest.

We have reached out to Mishra for comment.

Mishra’s disciplinary resolution is also under another threat – that of an independent regulator taking away the BCI’s disciplinary power itself, as recommended by the Law Commission of India. Earlier this week he threatened the Law Commission and government with protests by “the BCI n every lawyer of this country” who, according to his Facebook post, “will come on roads” if the BCI’s powers were to be reduced.

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