Madras High Court: In an appeal against the order dated 22-06-2023 passed in Elephant G. Rajendran v. The Registrar General, 2023 SCC OnLine Mad 4095 by the Single Judge, for seeking stay of operation of the said order, the division bench of S.S. Sundar* and K. Rajasekar, JJ., has stayed the Single Judge’s order directing the Madras Bar Association to pay compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs, after an Advocate was prevented from drinking water from Madras Bar Association premises, on the ground that he was not a member of the MBA.
A writ petition was filed in 2012 by a Senior Advocate on behalf of his son, a junior Advocate for being refused to drink water inside the premises of Madras Bar Association situated within High Court and regarding admission of practising lawyers as members and the consequential irrelevant restrictions imposed for such admission, wherein, the Single Judge Bench of S.M. Subramaniam, J. directed Madras Bar Association to pay Rs. 5 Lakhs to the Senior Advocate towards compensation for the untoward incident happened in the Madras Bar Association premises on 06-01-2012, since it is vicariously liable for the conduct of its own members. Thus, the present appeal is filed against this order.
The Court said that the Single Judge has ignored the specific objections raised by the appellant, denying the incident on 06-01-2012 which is the cause of action for filing the writ.
The Court said that though the appellant raised a specific plea denying the alleged incident on 06-01-2012, the Single Judge proceeded on the basis that the incident is true and had happened as alleged. Strangely, respondent/Senior Advocate has not even impleaded the Senior Counsel against whom several allegations were made. The writ petition was filed only for the purpose that the Registry should give suitable direction to the Association to act against the Senior Counsel and to withdraw his designation as Senior Counsel.
The Bench said that when serious allegations are made against the Senior Counsel, then without impleading the said senior counsel, the writ petition is not maintainable. Further, it reiterated that this Court when exercising jurisdiction under Article 226 of Constitution of India may not decide contentious issues on facts.
The Court noted that scope of writ petition cannot be enlarged by allowing impleading petitions, when the impleading petitioners have different cause of action to seek appropriate remedy especially when the writ petition is not filed as Public Interest Litigation.
As per the Court, when objections are specifically raised by the appellant, the Single Judge should have considered the same. Whenever a writ petition against the Registrar General is posted before Single Judge by mistake, it is in practice to refer the writ petition to be heard by Division Bench in view of Rule 17(1) of Madras High Court Writ Rules, 2021.
As per the Bench, a writ petition can be filed only by the person who has suffered a legal injury. Alleging social injustice done to a stranger even if the stranger is a son, the Senior Advocate should have filed a Public Interest Litigation and not a writ petition as person aggrieved. The Single Judge has disposed of the writ petition as a Public Interest Litigation. Further, the directions in the order will have serious implications, affecting the independence of Bar Associations throughout this State.
Thus, the Court viewed that a prima facie case has been made out to grant an order of interim stay as prayed for.
[The Secretary v. Elephant G Rajendran, 2023 SCC OnLine Mad 4372, Order dated 03-07-2023]