Case Law Details

Case Name : S. Baskar Mathuram Vs State of Tamil Nadu and it’s various officers (Madras High Court)
Appeal Number : Writ Petition (MD) No.15480 of 2016
Date of Judgement/Order : 22/08/2016
Related Assessment Year :
Courts : All High Courts (3783) Madras High Court (283)

Radhika Balasaria

Brief of the Case

In the case of S. Baskar Mathuram Vs. State of Tamil Nadu and its various officers a writ petition was filed by a practitioner of law in the name of public interest, seeking relief in relation to an unfortunate incident which was alleged to have taken place in some remote rural area in the State. The Hon’ble High Court held that the intervention of court was not called for in the matter and the Superintendent of Police, Madurai District shall monitor the entire follow-up action strictly in accordance with law.

Further, the Hon’ble High Court directed the State Government to put in place a policy decision to ensure that Print and Electronic Media does not while reporting instances of similar nature from furnishing any details which are capable of enabling the readers or general public to come to know of the identity of either the victims or those juveniles who are in conflict with the law. Hon’ble High Court also directed the Registrar (Administration) of this Bench to immediately circulate instructions to all Print, Electronic and Media Houses not to publish the names of the practitioners and individual names of judges as part of a news item.

Facts of the Case

A writ petition seeking relief was filed by a legal practitioner in relation to an unfortunate event which was alleged to have taken place on 05-08-2016 in some remote areas of the State. A report was filed by one of the victim’s parents which were registered by the police and was also taken up for investigation. It appeared that some of the newspapers also carried a news item on this matter and the Hon’ble High court believes that these news items inspired the legal practitioner to file this writ petition.

The Hon’ble High court believed that such writ was filed by the legal practitioner to use the platform of High Court for gaining popularity.

Held by High Court

The Hon’ble High Court observed that meticulously a bunch of papers were tagged without giving them any serial number beyond page 131. A report of four member child welfare committee was found where the committee has examined the entire matter in considerable detail and they had recorded the findings in the report. According to records, the committee’s prima facie opinion was that the story forming part of the FIR was a “fabricated one” and thus implied that it was a result of fertile imagination of someone. The committee also recorded that the police had recorded the FIR coming under pressure from a community leader who also incidentally happened to be a practitioner of law. The Hon’ble High Court held that the intervention of High court was not called for in the matter and the Superintendent of police, Madurai District shall monitor the entire follow-up action strictly and also deal with all people concerned in accordance with law.

Further, the Hon’ble High Court held that if a practitioner of law is seeking to use the platform of High Court for the purpose of gaining popularity and publicity, so that he will be able to attract more number of clients, if not alleged victims, in this case, it would amount to an unethical practice of soliciting work on one’s part. When once code of conduct is prescribed by the Bar council of India it is to be followed by every practitioner of law, any attempt to overreach the situation and also to breach it, even in an indirect manner must attract necessary corrective action. It directed the Registrar (Judicial) of this bench to place the case before the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry at Chennai for initiating necessary action for breach of Code of Ethics and professional conduct by the writ petitioner.

It also directed the Registrar (Administration) of the bench to immediately circulate instructions to all Print, Electronic and Media Houses not to publish the names of the practitioners and individual judges as a part of the news item unless it is so essentially required. As this practice can lead to an indirect method of soliciting and indulging in advertisement of the professional abilities and skills of the advocates. The Hon’ble High Court also directed the State Government to put in place a policy decision to ensure that the Print and Electronic Media does not while reporting instances of similar nature from furnishing any details which are capable of enabling the readers or general public to come to know of the identity of either the victims or those juveniles who are in conflict with law.

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