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Lawyers calling themselves chowkidars on Twitter can’t follow other profession: Mumbai advocate’s complaint to BCI

An advocate from Mumbai, Maharashtra has sent a complaint against a social media trend.

Over the past few days, since Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched his ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign, many people on Twitter have added the title of ‘Chowkidar’ to their names.

This social media trend in India has compelled Mumbai advocate Ejaz Naqwi to send a complaint to the Bar Council of India (BCI), the Secretary of Special Committee (BCI) and Secretary of Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa.

Ejaz Naqwi has been working as an advocate for the last 17 years.

In his complaint letter, he said, “Chowkidar or watchman profession is different and in contrast with advocacy or the legal profession. In several cases, the Bar Council of India has rules that no advocate, while practicing, shall engage in a trade or business or accept an appointment carrying a salary without previously getting an NOC from the Council. Though, an advocate is entitled for certain exemption for journalism, legal teaching, part-time advisor to corporation/government. But, allowing an advocate for ‘Chowkidar’ is not possible (sic).”

Some of those who have been cited in the complaint letter by Naqwi are all either Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokespersons or MLAs and cabinet ministers who have also been advocates before they entered politics.

The list has names of seven people.

Naqwi states, “An advocate is officer of court. He is expected to uphold the Constitution of India and rule of law for the larger interest of justice. He shall not render any service or practice or give advice to public involving breach of law or implying disrespect to the establishment of judiciary. I say that due to misconduct of the said group of lawyers the reputation and prestige of the noble profession of advocacy has been brought down.”

With this the complainant seeks that the BCI will initiate appropriate proceedings against these “chowkidars” and that a “Serious warning should be issued against the said advocates for their indiscipline and misconduct in the public at large. A show cause notice be issued to punish them for the ‘professional misconduct’ under provisions of BCI rules read with Section 35 and/or 36 of Advocates Act.”


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