Bar Council puts 'gag order,' asks incumbent head to continue

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Chennai, June 14 (UNI) An Extraordinary General Body Meeting of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry here today expressed confidence in its Chairman R K Chandramohan asking him to continue to work for advocates' welfare even as a 'gag order' was imposed restricting the members from talking to the media in connection with the council's activities.

At the meeting, 18 of the 25 members expressed their support for Mr Chandramohan who had been engaged in a tussle with Mr D Selvam for the council chairmanship.

However, the council resolved to restrain bar members from passing any information to the media, both print and electronic, and engaging in any activity to defame and undermine the council's authority.

After the general body, Mr Selvam told the media that today's meeting itself was not legal.

The extraordinary general body was convened to discuss the recent publication of a news item on the 'cold war' between Council Chairman Chandramohan and Mr Selvam for the top council post.

Mr Chandramohan said 19 (including Mr Selvam) of the 25 members attended the meeting. The remaining four had sent letters stating they would accept the decisions taken by the majority during the proceedings.

The genesis of the current stalemate in the council affairs go back to 2005 when a 'power-sharing arrangement' was formalised by some members at the time of election of the Chairman.

The issue snowballed into major confrontation between two groups of members.

One group claimed Mr Chandramohan was elected following an 'agreement' he would hold the post for the first half of the term with Mr Selvam heading the council affairs for the remaining period.

But, Mr Chandramohan denied the existence of any such agreement.

The other group claimed Mr Chandramohan must demit office on May 30. Mr Chandramohan said, ''when I have not entered into any agreement, the question of my resignation does not arise. In a democratic set up, I cannot pass on the mantle to someone of my choice.'' But Mr Selvam, insisting that he was in possession of evidence to prove the existence of such an agreement, told UNI ''I still hope Mr Chandramohan will demit office as a gentleman.'' According to him, such an arrangement became necessary in 2005 as both he and Mr Chandramohan wanted to avoid rift among the members.

Mr Selvam also released the purported copy of resignation letter addressed to the Secretary of the Bar Council by Mr Chandramohan signed on May 30.

UNI XR GKT AKJ KN1808

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