Anand moves apex court against ban on his practice

September 3rd, 2008 - 9:14 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) Senior advocate R.K. Anand Wednesday moved the Supreme Court, challenging a Delhi High Court ruling preventing him from practising before it and other lower courts in the capital for four months following a sting operation. The high court had banned Anand, a former Rajya Sabha member, and senior counsel I.U. Khan last month from practising before it and its subordinate courts in Delhi after holding them guilty of committing contempt of court.

They were convicted of committing contempt of court for forging a nexus together as defence and prosecution counsel respectively to influence key prosecution witness Sunil Kulkarni to turn hostile in the high profile BMW hit-and-run case, involving former navy chief Admiral S.M. Nanda’s grandson Sanjeev Nanda.

Nanda was convicted Tuesday by a Delhi trial court on charges of unintentional killing for mowing down six people under his speeding BMW car in the wee hours of Jan 10, 1999 at the Lodhi Road in south Delhi.

Anand moved the apex court contending that the high court is not empowered to ban the professional practice of any lawyer.

In his petition, he contended that the high courts are not the statutory disciplinary authority for lawyers, found guilty of professional misconduct.

He said the professional conduct of lawyers was governed by the Advocates Act, which empowers either the Bar Council of India (BCI) or the bar councils of various states to take disciplinary actions against the erring lawyers.

Anand in his petition pointed out to the apex court that even BCI chairman Suraj Narain Prasad Sinha, in a recent press statement, had objected to the high court’s ruling imposing ban on the professional practice of the two lawyers.

Anand also assailed the high court ruling, contending that it “wrongly” convicted him of the contempt to court charges despite there being no clinching evidence required for his conviction.

The senior lawyer went on to the extent of accusing Justice Manmohan Sarin of the Delhi High Court of having a “personal bias and prejudice” against him in arriving at a conclusion against him in the ruling.

Last year in December, Anand had moved the apex court seeking its direction to Justice Sarin for withdrawing himself from the bench, which had launched a contempt of court proceedings against him and Khan for forging the nexus between them to influence the prosecution witness.

Anand had sought the apex court’s direction to Justice Sarin to refrain from adjudicating the case involving him, saying the judge entertained deep animosity and personal bias against him.

But the apex court had then rebuked Anand for doing what the apex court described as “bench hunting”.

A bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat had rebuked Anand saying, “It’s for the judge to say that I’m withdrawing from a case and not for the lawyers to demand it.”

“We are looking at it with a different perspective. If we entertain your case, practically there will be a bench hunting,” the bench had observed.

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