The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the Madras high court's order directing suspension of advocate R K Chandramohan from chairmanship of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for allegedly attempting to influence a judge by taking former telecom minister A Raja's name.
A bench comprising justices D K Jain and H L Dattu also stayed the operation of the high court direction asking the Bar Council of India to initiate disciplinary action against Chandramohan. The bench, which stayed the operation of these two directions, posted the matter for further hearing in the first week of January.
The Madras high court had on December 7 suspended from the bar the top lawyer who was allegedly involved in an attempt to influence Justice S Regupathy by taking the name of Raja. A division bench comprising Justice F M Ibrahim Khalifulla and Justice M M Sundaresh had said the status of Chandramohan shall stand suspended forthwith.
He will not be permitted to function as such pending disciplinary action by the Bar Council of India, the bench had said. Disposing of a petition by a lawyer, the bench had appended a portion of a letter written by Justice Reghupati, who had reported that Chandramohan had entered his chamber last year and pleaded that the case of a father and a son, accused in a marks scandal case in Puducherry, for anticipatory bail be considered favourably as they were 'family friends' of Raja.
The lawyer handed over his mobile phone to the judge, saying that the 'union minister is on the line to have a talk with me'.
"I discouraged such conduct of Mr Chandramohan and told him that the case would be disposed of in accordance with law, if listed before me," Justice Reghupati had said in his letter of July 7, 2009 to the then chief justice of India.
Justice Reghupati, who has since retired, had in his letter complained about Chandramohan's 'uncontrollable' behaviour.
The apex court bench said it was only staying two of the high court's directions.
Appearing for advocate Chandramohan, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi apprised the bench of the appeal filed by the lawyer and contended that all the directions of the high court were illegal except that a complaint can be filed against the advocate. He said the high court does not have the power to direct the suspension of the membership of an advocate, which is granted under a statute.
Rohatgi said this legal position was made clear in the apex court judgement in which it has been stated that even the Supreme Court cannot direct the suspension of an advocate.