Sebastian said that he did not intend to respond to the suspension since it did not affect his practice in any way.

Kerala advocates association suspends Sebastian Paul for defaming legal fraternitySebastian Paul/Facebook
news Lawyers-Media scuffle Thursday, October 20, 2016 - 14:14

The latest victim of the ongoing spat between lawyers and media persons in Kerala is lawyer and media critic Sebastian Paul.  

The Kerala High Court Advocate’s Association, on Wednesday, suspended Sebastian for allegedly defaming the lawyer fraternity. He has repeatedly hit out at lawyers for the continuing attacks on media persons, which have not stopped even after the court demanded the matter be resolved. 

The suspension order issued by the executive committee of the association was based on a portion of Sebastian’s speech aired by a Malayalam channel Manorama News. Sebastian had made the speech at the Press Club in Kozhikode. The association held that his comments were “in the nature to lower the authority and defame the judiciary and the entire legal fraternity.”

“You are already facing disciplinary proceedings and again continuously are making contemptuous statements defaming the judicial system and the legal fraternity with an ulterior motive to have an unlawful gain from the media,” the suspension order accessed by LiveLaw reads.

The association had earlier issued notice for disciplinary proceedings against Sebastian and a few other lawyers, for condemning the attack on media persons. 

In his initial response to the media, Sebastian Paul had said that he had in no way defamed the association and that he had only reiterated his earlier stance that even the judges were not able to put an end to the issue. 

"I have not opposed any decision of the association. If the stance taken by the association or its members is wrong according to me, I have the freedom to say it is wrong," Paul said, adding that the association had no right to suspend a life member of the association, especially for expressing his views.

A day after this, Sebastian Paul put stray dogs and lawyers side by side in a speech reportedly made at a media seminar in Thrissur, saying that there were two ‘uncertain’ communities in Kerala – stray dogs and lawyers.  

"The stray dogs in Kerala have turned violent all of a sudden. We don't know what has made them violent. The second is the lawyer community, that has been attacking media persons for the last three months. We don't know the reasons for both these behaviors. Violent stray dogs can be controlled by sterilizing them, but not the lawyers," he said. 

However, he was quick to add that he did not attempt to compare the two. 

"I made the comment on a lighter note. But the lawyers need to realize their responsibilities soon enough," he told The News Minute. 

He added that he was not planning any response to the suspension. "Not being part of the association will in no way hamper my practice. Let the suspension be. The election to the association is due in December and I am awaiting the decision of the new committee," he said. 

 

 

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