The Bar Council of India (BCI), the top lawyers' body, on Monday stayed the May 8 decision of the Executive Committee of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) to suspend its Secretary Ashok Arora with immediate effect by terming the suspension as "illegal, cavalier, undemocratic and autocratic".
The differences between the SCBA Secretary and SCBA President Dushyant Dave had come out in open recently leading to the committee suspending Mr Arora.
The suspension had come after Mr Arora had called an emergent general meeting (EGM) of the lawyers' body on May 11 to deliberate on agenda for removing Dave from the post of SCBA President. The meeting was later cancelled.
The BCI took note of Mr Arora's representation and came out with the resolution staying the suspension with immediate effect.
"It is, therefore, unanimously resolved that the operation of the resolution dated May 08, passed by the Executive Committee of SCBA, inter-alia, suspending Ashok Arora from his position as Honorary Secretary, is hereby stayed with immediate effect. Ashok Arora shall continue to hold his elected position as Honorary Secretary of SCBA and discharge all functions and powers as such.
"We also direct Ashok Arora to convene a General Body Meeting of SCBA within two weeks after the lockdown is over and normal functioning of the Supreme Court starts. The agenda shall be circulated in advance as per rules of SCBA. All pending issues including the contentious issues among President, Honorary Secretary and Executive Committee Members shall be part of the agenda for General Body Meeting," the BCI said in its resolution.
The top most lawyers'' body said that under Section-7 of the Advocates Act, it is the duty of the BCI to "lay down the standards of etiquette for the Advocates and to safeguard the rights, privileges and interests of Advocates. This matter is directly covered under the aforementioned functions of the Council".
The BCI resolution, issued by its secretary Srimanto Sen, said that the resolution passed by the Executive Committee suspending Arora was "beyond the powers of Executive Committee and is, therefore, illegal, cavalier, undemocratic and autocratic in nature. It is vindictive on the face of it. It is mind-boggling misuse and abuse of its position by the Executive Committee."
The resolution said that ordinarily, even a body which is conferred with power to take such an action would issue a show cause notice to the person concerned and hence, the suspension was not only "illegal and arbitrary but also against the principles of natural justice".
The BCI Chairperson and senior advocate Manan Kumar Mishra was not part of the meeting which stayed Arora''s suspension as SCBA Secretary as he is a Member and voter of SCBA, the resolution said.
Differences had appeared among the top office bearers in the SCBA over the stand taken by the lawyers'' body on a ''resolution'' concerning statements made by Justice Arun Mishra about Prime Minister Narendra Modi at International Judicial Conference-2020.