The division bench of the Madhya Pradesh high court at Jabalpur had issued contempt notices to office bearers of the HC bar association of Indore and its executive members for abstaining from work on April 30 this year and sending an expulsion notice to the lawyers who appeared for court proceedings on that day.
Advocate Rahul Sethi challenged the bar's expulsion notice citing a Supreme Court verdict in Ex-Captain Harish Uppal vs Union of India and another in 2003, which maintained that abstaining from court work would amount to professional misconduct. Hence, any action against them will amount to contempt of court.
The division bench comprising justices Ranjendra Menon and SK Gupta looked into the matter of expulsion from the bar's membership, stayed the order passed by the bar, and slapped contempt notices to the office bearers of the bar association and its executive body members for passing such an order.
Ina mark of protest against setting up a circuit bench of the HC in Bhopal, lawyers across the state abstained from work on April 30, but a few defied the bandh call given by the bar associations.
Following a resolution passed by the association, termination of life-time membership was issued against senior advocate AK Sethi, his sons advocate Rahul Sethi and Rishabh Sethi, and a deputy additional advocate general Banwarilal Yadav for defying the bar's decision to abstain from work.
Sources in the HC bar said all the fuss was about the upcoming HC bar elections scheduled to take place later this year.
Following abstention from work on April 30, a division bench comprising chief justice SS Khemkar and justice Rajendra Menon took suo-moto cognizance over the matter and slapped contempt notices to about 700 lawyers. The hearing was adjourned on Thursday.