The Bar Council of India has suspended 5,970 advocates from practising law till they pay pending subscription of the Advocates Welfare Fund (AWF).
The Advocates Welfare Fund (BCI) Committee resorted to the action after giving several notices and warning to lawyers.
The Supreme Court has made it clear that lawyers who do not subscribe to the fund cannot be permitted to practice before any court in the country.
As per Rule 40, Chapter-II, Part VI of the Bar Council of India Rules, every person who enrols as an advocate is mandated to subscribe for the AWF.
The same must be renewed every three years.
From 1993, the subscription was converted for life time and it was collected mandatorily during enrolment.
However, advocates enrolled before 1993 still continue to pay the subscription on yearly basis.
As the number of defaulting advocates were found to be over 7,000, in November the bar council issued notices to all these lawyers and released the list of defaulting lawyers in the official website of the state bar council.
Despite the notices and warning, 5,970 advocates failed to make the pending payments of the subscription within the stipulated time, inviting suspension.
On March 21, the Advocates Welfare Fund Committee passed an unanimous resolution suspending the defaulting lawyers.
Subsequently, in a March 23 communication, C Raja Kumar, secretary to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, officially informed them of the suspension.
“It is hereby informed that the Advocates Welfare (BCI) Committee has suspended the right of practice of 5,970 advocates in any court, tribunal or other authority till the payment of subscription under Rule 40, Part VI Chapter II of the Bar Council of India Rules vide Resolution No 242/2019 dated March 22,” the communication said.