Guwahati, Oct. 11: The bar council of the eight northeastern states (including Sikkim) has suspended a Guwahati-based lawyer from legal practice for one year after he was found guilty of “professional misconduct”.
A three-member disciplinary committee of the bar council held advocate Ajanta Talukdar guilty of intimidating an undertrial prisoner, Sajal Talukdar, inside Guwahati Central Jail on July 22 last year.
The disciplinary committee comprised chairman Jamini Kumar Baishya and members G.N. Sahewalla and Sishir Dutta. In an order passed yesterday, it found that Talukdar not only intimidated Sajal but also offered to appeal for his bail, “which is a clear misconduct on his part as laid down in the rules framed under Section 49 (1) (c) of the Advocates Act, 1961.”
“He shall be debarred from practising in any court or before any authority or person during the period of his suspension,” the disciplinary committee said in its order. Talukdar’s suspension came into effect immediately.
The prisoner’s sister, Khukurani Das, had filed a complaint before the chief judicial magistrate, Kamrup, Siddhartha Pratim Moitra, against the advocate.
According to her, Talukdar entered the jail office around 10am on July 22 last year along with another person and called Sajal there. The two persons asked Sajal about an identity card and when he denied knowledge of any such card, the advocate threatened him with dire consequences.
Upon receipt of the complaint, the CJM forwarded the matter to the chairman of the bar council.
Responding to a notice issued by the bar council, Ajanta Talukdar denied the allegation and claimed that during the relevant time he was present in the court of the district and sessions judge, Kamrup. He also moved a bail application.
“As per evidence of Sajal Talukdar, the occurrence took place at 10am. The distance between the Central Jail (which was located at Fancy Bazar on the date of the incident) and the court of the district and sessions judge is about 2km only, which can be covered in minutes,” the order of the disciplinary committee said.
“Moreover, generally court assembles at 10.30am. In our considered opinion by simply adducing evidence that at the relevant time the respondent (Ajanta Talukdar) was in the court of district and sessions judge is not enough and the respondent failed to discharge his alibi plea (the plea of having been at the time of the commission of an act elsewhere than at the place of commission) beyond reasonable doubt,” the order added.