No apex court relief to contemnor Jharkhand lawyer

April 7th, 2008 - 8:22 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) A Jharkhand lawyer, banned from practicing in any court in the state following his conviction for contempt, failed to get relief from the Supreme Court Monday. A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice R.V Raveendran adjourned for four weeks the hearing on advocate K.K. Jha’s petition seeking annulment of that part of the Jharkhand High Court’s order which barred him from practising in any court in the state.

Jha sought examination by the apex court of whether a high court is empowered to ban a lawyer from practicing in any court in the state.

While convicting a “cantankerous” Jha July 3 last year for showing disrespect to the judiciary, the Jharkhand High Court sentenced him to six months in jail. It also barred him from practising in any court in the state.

The high court also referred the matter to the Bar Council of Jharkhand to examine if the lawyer’s act of showing disrespect to the court amounted to professional misconduct.

Jha was held in contempt of court for questioning and declaring as wrong a civil judge’s order and seeking the judge’s prosecution under section 219 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The relevant section provides for seven-year jail term to an official for issuing wrong or illegal orders.

Jha subsequently moved the apex court against his conviction and sentencing.

Though Jha is free to practise in courts outside Jharkhand, he does not hope to get any legal brief in a place where people do not know him.

“This has driven me to the verge of starvation, affecting my fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the constitution,” Jha told IANS.

While hearing Jha’s petition earlier Dec 3 last, the apex court suspended his sentence entailing the jail term, but did not give any ruling on the other part of the high court order barring him from practising in any court in the state.

In his petition to the apex court, Jha has contended that as per the Advocates Act, 1961, and a 1998 judgement of a five-judge constitutional bench of the Supreme Court, only the Bar Councils of states are empowered to cancel an advocate’s license and prevent him from practising in a court.

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