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Thursday, March 04, 2021

HC bar assn ‘ends’ Punjab AG membership, bar council stays move

“The Court of Hon’ble the Chief Justice shall be boycotted until the complete opening of physical courts or until his transfer,” the resolution read.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
February 2, 2021 2:08:57 am
Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda, Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association, Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, Punjab and Haryana High Court, chandigarh news, india news, indian expressPunjab Advocate General Atul Nanda. (File)

Blaming the Punjab Advocate General Atul Nanda for “continuously working against physical opening of the court”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association (HCBA) Monday removed him from its membership.

The HCBA, in a general house meeting on the resumption of physical work in the high court which has remained suspended since March 21 last year, also passed a resolution that “the Chief Justice of India and Union Law Ministry shall be requested to immediately transfer the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court Chandigarh to any other court”.

“The Court of Hon’ble the Chief Justice shall be boycotted until the complete opening of physical courts or until his transfer,” the resolution read.

Later, the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana (BCPH) stayed the HCBA move to remove Nanda from its membership.

The bar association resolution ending Nanda’s membership said that “Advocate General Punjab has continuously worked against the physical opening of the court and has acted against the interest of the bar”. The bar association also ended the membership of “all the members who appeared in the courts on February 1, 2021, despite the call given by the executive committee of HCBA”.

According to the HCBA, all the sectors of economy, movie theatres, primary schools, gyms, political gatherings are functioning in full capacity. The continuous closure of the Punjab and Haryana High Court is sending the wrong signal to the society apart from taking away the livelihood of lawyers, stenos, clerks and other persons associated with the legal field, it said.

Nanda described the allegations against him as “baseless” and claimed he had written a letter on January 30 giving his consent for appearance of law officers of the state during physical hearing of cases in the high court.

“The decision to commence physical hearing rests with the administrative committee of the high court and not with me,” he said, adding the “courts were closed for physical hearing keeping in mind the Covid-19 threat “which is far from over and the world is still battling the crisis”.

Incidentally, the Supreme Court of India has also not yet opened for physical hearing.

Expressing surprise at the “unilateral and arbitrary” resolution of the HCBA against him, Nanda said taking suo motu cognizance of the issue, the bar council, which is a supreme body, has “stayed” it.

The bar council, in an emergency meeting called in the evening termed the HCBA action as “arbitrary”, extremely unfair, unjust, harsh and uncalled for”.

In a statement, the bar council said “Nanda has always stood for the cause of advocates”. It said on January 31, a meeting of the administrative committee, “comprising the Hon’ble judges was convened to discuss the resumption of physical hearing…office bearers of the HCBA were also invited”.

The council said that instead, the HCBA office bearers “had chosen to boycott the meeting for the reason best known to them”.

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