The Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the Karnataka State Bar Council to inform the court on the next date of hearing whether action can be taken against advocates who are members of the Mysore City Advocates Multipurpose Cooperative Society, which had in January 2020, passed a resolution to stop members of the bar from representing Nalini Balakumar, a student who was accused of sedition for holding a 'Free Kashmir' placard during the anti-CAA protests at the Mysore University campus on January 8.
Advocate Basavaraj S Sappanavar, submitted "I have not passed any resolution, my members have appeared for the said accused and my members have filed application and argued and obtained bail also for the accused." It was added by the counsel that the impugned resolution was issued by the Society (Mysore City Advocates Multipurpose Cooperative Society).
The bench pointed to the advocate representing Karnataka State Bar Council, who was present in the court to attend another matter, and said: "If members of this society are Advocates and are passing such resolutions which are contrary to law, you cannot be a silent spectator".
Chief Justice Oka asked "Whether this society is having office within the bar association premises?"
The counsel replied "I am unaware. The cooperative society has its own notice boards."
The bench persisted : "Answer our question, whether this society is occupying part of advocates association premises?"
"It is within the complex", the counsel finally said.
In its order the bench recorded "Counsel for respondent 2, relies on an affidavit filed by the second respondent, in which it is clearly stated the respondent 2, has no role to play about the resolution. In fact members of the second respondent have appeared for the accused. However, counsel for respondent 2, seeks time to take instruction whether Mysore City Advocate's Multipurpose Cooperative Society is occupying any part of the premises allotted to the Bar association."
Naik has contended that Section 6 (d) and (dd) of the Advocate Act, 1961 imposes a duty upon the Karnataka State Bar Council, 'to safeguard the rights, privileges and interest of Advocates on its roll" and 'to promote the growth of Bar Associations for the purpose of effective implementation of the welfare scheme' respectively. Hence any inaction on its part in this regard, amounts to violation of the aforesaid provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961.
The Matter will be next heard on March 5.