As many as 470 advocates, including 53 senior advocates, had signed off a letter in support of Sibal and Kaul, urging the SCBA to withdraw the decision to bring a resolution against the duo. Former Attorney General K.K. Venugopal had separately written a letter to the SCBA recommending the same.
DAYS after 470 advocates, including 53 senior advocates, and former Attorney General for India, K.K. Venugopal, requested the withdrawal of a proposed resolution by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) against senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Neeraj Kishan Kaul for apologising to the Chief Justice of India earlier this month on behalf of the association for the conduct of its president, senior advocate Vikas Singh, the SCBA has relented, deciding to call off a General Body meeting which was scheduled for March 17 to discuss the action against Sibal and Kaul.
The decision to cancel the general body meeting was taken in an emergency meeting of the executive committee of the SCBA held on Wednesday.
The SCBA says that now that a special bench has been formed by the Chief Justice of India to hear its petition seeking land for the construction of chambers for lawyers, and that the matter would be heard on Friday morning, one of its demands has been fulfilled.
Regarding action against Sibal and Kaul, the SCBA says that it had no personal agenda against anyone and was only concerned with the stand of the Bar not being diluted before the judges.
It added that the executive committee was duty bound to call for a general body meeting when a requisition in that regard was received by the SCBA Secretary, duly signed by 150 SCBA members.
It also says that as per its rules, no member, individually or collectively, has the right to ask for the withdrawal of a particular resolution; the only right that a member has in this regard, whether individually or collectively, is to vote for/against the resolution at the time of General Body meeting.
Eventually, it decided to call off the general body meeting in view of a letter by Venugopal. In his letter, Venugopal said such a resolution will create two factions in the Bar, which may permanently sour relations among members of the Bar.
The decision to call for a General Body meeting was taken on March 6 by the executive committee of the SCBA. A total of 235 members signed a letter calling for an urgent general body meeting of the SCBA, while a total of 184 members signed a letter calling for a general body meeting to show solidarity with Singh on the issue of allotment of land for lawyers’ chambers.
The resolution had three demands which were to be put up for consideration before the scheduled general body meeting. These include bar members expressing complete solidarity with the stand taken by Singh before the CJI; issuance of an appropriate show cause notice to Sibal and Kaul demanding their explanation for apologising to the CJI for Singh’s behaviour; and condemning the stand taken by any member of the Bar belittling the stand taken by Singh.
The controversy stems from earlier this month, when the CJI and Singh had a fiery exchange over the allotment matter. Rebuking Singh for raising his voice and threatening the court with protests, CJI Dr. Chandrachud said he would not be cowed down.
“You will be treated like an ordinary litigant”, the CJI had said, asking Singh to leave the court. Singh was in the CJI’s court to mention the plea on allotment of chambers. The CJI directed to list it on March 19, but Singh insisted that it be listed as the first item, which the CJI flatly refused.