In R Muthu Krishnan vs Registrar of Madras High Court, the court dealt with the issue that whether the disciplinary power vested in the Bar Council of India by the Advocates act can be taken away by the court.

A lawyer named R Muthu Krishnan filed a writ petition against an amendment made by the Madras High court in rules of Madras High court, 1970 Rule 14A, 14B, 14C and 14D through his power given under section 34 of Advocates act, 1961.

Rule 14A inserted by amendment empowered the high court to debar advocates from practising the law. Rule 14B empowers district judge to debar advocates from appearing before any court in the district. Rule 14C describes the procedure and Rule 14D empowers courts to pass interim orders for debarring the advocate to appear before the High court or any court subordinate to it.

The above-said rules were challenged before the supreme court, the petitioner contended that the rules are violative of article 14, article 19 of the constitution and also section 30, section 34, section 35 and section 49(1)(c) of the advocates act. The powers provided under Rule 14A to 14D are the powers given to the Bar Council of Tamilnadu and Puducherry and the High court cannot frame such rules.

The petitioner said that the Bar council enrol advocate on their roll and if the advocate is found guilty of misconduct only the bar council have the power to debar the advocate from practising law. The high court can control who can appear before them or before the subordinate courts but cannot debar advocate from practising law altogether. This is beyond the preview of the High court.

While the High court contended that the rules are framed on the framework provided under section 34 of the advocates act and directions issued by the court in R K Anand vs Registrar of Delhi high court; Pravin shah vs KA Mohd Ali; ex-captain Harish Uppal vs Union of India.

The apex court after hearing both the parties and taking a look over the facts and circumstances of the court held that Rule 14A to 14D are ultra vires to section 34 of the advocates act as they are surpassing the powers of the bar council for the disciplinary matters.

The court further said that the advocate act never intended to confer disciplinary power to the high court or supreme court except the power to deal with the appeal under section 38 of the advocates act.

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