Allahabad High Court Summons Judge Over Treating Muslim Lawyers Unfairly

In a recent incident at the Allahabad High Court, a senior judicial officer faced allegations of religious discrimination against Muslim lawyers during a criminal trial involving forced religious conversion accusations. The officer, Additional District & Sessions Judge Vivekanand Sharan Tripathi, declined a request from Muslim lawyers for a brief adjournment to attend Friday prayers, opting instead to appoint additional counsel, termed amici curiae, to represent the accused during prayer times. This decision was met with objections, leading to the intervention of Justice Shamim Ahmed of the High Court.

In his order dated April 3, Justice Ahmed criticized the trial court’s conduct, highlighting its failure to acknowledge the gravity of the High Court’s stay order and its arbitrary continuation of proceedings. The High Court also took issue with the trial judge’s discriminatory remarks about the absence of counsel from a specific religious community, which led to the appointment of amici.

Emphasizing the violation of the fundamental right against religious discrimination as enshrined in Article 15 of the Indian Constitution, the High Court expressed concerns about the trial judge’s impartiality and integrity. It reiterated its earlier stay order, halting further proceedings in the trial against the petitioner, and summoned the judicial officer to explain the controversial orders. The court stressed the importance of judicial accountability and the need to maintain public trust and confidence in the judiciary.

Judge Tripathi appeared before the High Court, offering an unconditional apology and admitting to passing the orders under a misconception. He assured the court of exercising caution in the future. The court granted him two days to file a personal affidavit and scheduled the matter for further hearing on April 18.

Legal representatives involved in the case included advocates representing the petitioner, the accused judge, and the state.

This incident highlights the importance of upholding fairness, impartiality, and integrity within the judiciary. Judicial misconduct, particularly involving religious discrimination, undermines public confidence in the legal system. Therefore, it is imperative for judges to adhere strictly to legal and ethical standards, ensuring that their decisions are free from bias or prejudice.

In conclusion, the intervention of the Allahabad High Court in addressing allegations of religious discrimination within the judiciary reaffirms the commitment to uphold constitutional values and ensure justice for all. By holding judges accountable for their conduct, the court reinforces the importance of maintaining public trust in the judiciary and safeguarding the principles of equality and fairness before the law.

Allahabad High Court Mandates Police Checks for Lawyer Licenses

In a recent ruling, the Allahabad High Court emphasized the importance of scrutinizing the criminal background of individuals applying for a license to practice law. The court took action after a concerning incident where a person with a history of fourteen criminal cases, including four convictions, managed to obtain a license to practice as a lawyer. The court’s directive involves incorporating a police report as part of the evaluation process for aspiring lawyers.

The division bench, comprising Justice Saumitra Dayal Singh and Justice Vinod Diwakar, expressed concern about the lax procedures that allowed an individual with a significant criminal record to enter the legal profession unnoticed. In response, the court instructed the Uttar Pradesh government and the State Bar Council to implement a thorough due diligence process.

The court’s order specifies that a police report should be solicited from relevant police stations for both pending and new applications for a law license. Drawing parallels with the process of obtaining passports, the court suggests that a provisional license can be issued while awaiting the police report. If the subsequent report reveals adverse information, the provisional license can be revoked.

This legal development unfolded during the court’s consideration of a petition that highlighted the case of an individual with fourteen pending criminal cases, four of which resulted in convictions. The petitioner raised concerns about the person securing a law license by concealing this criminal history. The court, noting the urgency of the matter, directed the State Bar Council to expedite disciplinary proceedings, ideally concluding within three months.

The court stressed the potential harm to society and the legal community if individuals with criminal backgrounds are allowed to practice law unchecked. It cited the Advocates Act, emphasizing its prohibition against admitting individuals with such histories to the legal profession. The court expressed surprise at the lack of a robust procedure within the Bar Council to enforce its own rules, highlighting the need for the council to evolve measures for rigorous background checks.

The judges underscored the obligation of applicants to disclose any criminal charges or convictions during the application process. Failure to provide such information could result in the rejection of the application. The court questioned the apparent absence of a well-defined procedure within the Bar Council to ensure compliance with these principles.

In conclusion, the Allahabad High Court’s directive serves as a crucial step towards ensuring that the legal profession remains free from individuals with a questionable criminal history. By mandating the inclusion of a police report in the licensing process and emphasizing timely disciplinary proceedings, the court aims to fortify the integrity of the legal fraternity in Uttar Pradesh. The State Bar Council has been urged to implement these measures promptly to safeguard the reputation of the legal profession and protect the interests of society at large.