In further embarrassment to former Telecom Minister A Raja,the Madras High Court today suspended from the bar a top lawyer who was allegedly involved in an attempt to influence a judge by taking the name of the minister.
It is alleged Raja is the minister in question.
A Division Bench,comprising Justice F M Ibrahim Khalifulla and Justice M M Sundaresh,said the status of R K Chandramohan,a member and subsequently as Chairman of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Pondichery,shall stand suspended forthwith.
He should not be permitted to function as such pending disciplinary action by the Bar Council of India,the Bench said.
Disposing of a petition by a lawyer,the Bench appended a portion of a letter written by a former judge of the court Justice S Reghupati,who had reported that Chandramohan had entered his chamber last year and pleaded that the case of a father and a son,accused in a marks scandal case in Puducherry,for anticipatory bail be considered favourably as they were “family friends of a Union Minister by name Raja”.
The lawyer handed over his mobile phone to the judge saying that the “Union minister is on the line to have a talk with me”.
“I discouraged such conduct of Mr Chandramohan and told him that the case would be disposed of in accordance with law,if listed before me,” Justice Reghupati had said in his letter of July 7,2009 to the then Chief Justice of India.
Justice Reghupati,who has since retired,had in his letter,complained about the Chandramohan’s “outburst and uncontrollable” behaviour.
The judge had in the open court last year alleged that a Union minister,through a lawyer,attempted to speak to him on the telephone seeking favours in a case being investigated by the CBI posted the matter to another judge. But he had not named the minister.
In his letter to the CJI,Justice Reghupati had observed that “a counsel,who made an attempt to exert influence on the court by using the name of a Cabinet minister,cannot be allowed to succeed in snatching an order in his favour by advancing a threat”.
The issue became a raging controversy after the then CJI told the media that the judge had sent a report to him making it clear that no Union minister spoke to him directly.
Justice Reghupati made those remarks addressing Chandramohan,who was appearing in connection with an anticipatory bail plea by S Kirub Shridhar,a third year student in a private medical college in Puducherry,and his doctor-father Krishnamoorthy.
The bail pleas were moved by Chandramohan on behalf of the two who had been booked by the CBI for allegedly using the services of a Pondicherry University official and a middleman to inflate marks to get a medical seat at the time of admission.
Justice Reghupati,in his letter to the CJI,had observed that Chandramohan made a plea to him that the court should call for the case diary and hear the case with reference to the material collected during the course of investigation.
“I have impressed upon the representing counsel by explicating that a like direction could be given to the prosecution only in the event of a judge satisfying that such course is inevitable and absolutely necessary in a given situation and that on mere demands and as a matter of routine such exercise cannot be undertaken.
“At that time Mr Chandramohan stood up and made a similar demand and when I emphatically declined to accede to his adamant demand,he vociferously remarked that the court is always taking sides with the prosecution and not accepting the submissions made by the counsel for the accused while giving importance to the Prosecutor.
“On such pointless remark,I said the counsel had engaged to argue on his behalf has made his submission and he is not supposed to pass such slanderous and derogatory remarks,” Justice Reghupati had said in his letter.
The lawyer,who had filed the petition,moved the court for debarring Chandramohan from continuing as Bar Council Chairman for his alleged misconduct and order the Bar Council of India to take disciplinary action against him.
The Bench also said Justice Reghupathi’s letter shall be under the custody of the Registrar General in a sealed cover which,however,shall be part of the case.