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Supreme court Bar Associatin v. union of India (AIR 1998 SC 1995)

V.C.Mishra, then the Chair Man of the Bar Council of India was punished by the Supreme court for contempt of court and he was suspended from the practice for a period of 3 years.

The charges against him was that in the court by using insulting, disrespectful and threatening language he has threatened the judges. His act has hurt the judges and he has acted in such way to abstruct the course of justice. The Supreme Court Bar association challenged this order and raised the following issues.

1. The Supreme Court while dealing with the contempt proceedings cannot suspend Advocate from the practice.

2. Bar Council alone can pass the order suspending an Advocate from practice.

3. For professional misconduct original jurisdiction is vested with the Bar Council.

4. Supreme court vested with only appellate jurisdiction to hear the appeal against the order of the Bar Council of India.

5. Art. 129 of the constitution does not confer any original Jurisdiction to the Supreme court in the matters of professional misconduct. The main question before the court was whether for contempt of court committed by an Advocate the Supreme Court can pass an order suspending his practice for a specified period.

The Constitution bench of the Supreme Court allowed the petition and issued the following orders.

1. Supreme court’s power to punish for contempt is quite wide, yet it is limited.

2. In the contempt of the court proceedings, the court cannot simultaneously enquire into the professional misconduct also by adopting summery procedure.

3. Professional misconduct should be enquired only by following the prescribed procedure mentioned in the Advocates Act.

4. Supreme court can award punishment only for contempt of court and not for professional misconduct.

5. For the contempt of the court, simple imprisonment of 6 weeks is given.

6. This punishment is suspended for 4 years.

7. The punishment shall be activated, if V.C. Misra again indulges in any other act of contempt of court within the said period of 4 years.


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