In his 206-page petition, the advocate details his fights against corruptions in police, bureaucracy, and judiciary, alleging as the reason behind the unheard life ban in independent India.
In a rare instance, the Supreme Court on Friday is hearing a petition filed by Manikandan Chettiar, an advocate from Chennai against the life ban on practice on him imposed by Bar Council of India. In his petition, the advocate said that he is the first one facing such a harsh punishment in the independent India and the third person in the 395 years in Indian judicial history. The second person faced life ban was none other our Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi by British in 1922 and the first person was a freedom fighter Shyamaji Krishna Varma in 1909. The first two decisions of life ban were imposed by London’s Inner Temple, those days regulator of the Bar. The Inner Temple suo moto in 1988 and 2015 withdrew these life bans on Mahatma Gandhi and Varma, as rectification of their old decisions.
He filed many cases seeking probes in many controversial cases in Tamil Nadu and has raised many issues related to corruption in the judiciary.
“Ironically, both the Mahatma and Shyamaji were reinstated by the Inner Temple posthumously in 1988 and 2015 respectively, 66 years and 106 years, after their being banned. The Appellant, on the other hand, is challenging the double life ban imposed upon him because Republic India’s Constitutional Law-Courts and its Bar Councils have both suo motu imposed the double life-ban on the petitioner since 06.02.2018 and interim indefinite ban since 14.09.2015 without being able to frame a single charge, whatsoever,” said Manikandan in his petition, who is represented by noted lawyer Colin Gonsalves. The case is listed before the bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta.
In Chennai legal circles, Manikandan (45) is known as an activist lawyer, who picked up fights with police, judicial corruption-related issues. He filed many cases seeking probes in many controversial cases in Tamil Nadu and has raised many issues related to corruption in the judiciary. He cited his cases against the fake FIR and fake bail rackets running in the state and how it collapsed after his litigations. He repeatedly said that his legal battles earned him many enemies in the system including the judiciary.
In the controversial Sankarraman murder case, in 2011, he produced an audio tape of money transfer to a trial judge. In this case, as per Manikandan’s petition to the apex court, the current Madras HC Judge PN Prakash was the lead lawyer of the accused persons including late Kanchi Shankaracharya. All accused were acquitted in the case and Manikandan continued his petitions to probe into the audio tape that surfaced on the judicial bribing in the case.
In 2013, the advocate Prakash was elevated as Judge in Madras High Court. In 2015, Justice Prakash took over the case related to judicial bribing from trial court and directed to Tamil Nadu Bar Council for stringent action against Manikandan, though his junior was the actual petitioner. According to Manikandan’s petition, without hearing him, in 2015 the state Bar Council suspended him from practicing and in February 2018, Bar Council of India imposed a life ban.
In his 206-page petition, the advocate details his fights against corruptions in police, bureaucracy, and judiciary, alleging as the reason behind the unheard life ban in independent India. “Thus it is crystal clear that in order to protect the criminals and lawyers involved in the illegal framing of Puducherry’s Chief Judge Mr. Ramaswamy and also to protect the murder case approver from being committed to trial in the 2004 Sankararaman murder case and to thwart an appeal against the acquittals, their erstwhile counsel Mr. P. N. Prakash (now judge of the Hon’ble High Court of Madras) has been consistently misusing his judicial office in league with others, and had the Appellant ex-communicated from India’s law courts without any allegations, and without any due process by means of an unjust disciplinary proceeding judgment ,” said Manikandan in his petition against Bar Council of India for imposing life ban on his career.
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