Taking the tiff with media persons further ahead, the Thiruvananthapuram Bar Association (TBA) on Monday suspended nine members for representing press persons in an on-going defamation case filed by a lawyer.
The move came as informal talks to resolve the year-long standoff between reporters and lawyers had gathered momentum under the aegis of Advocate General Sudhakara Prasad, TBA President Anayara Shaji, former MLA Shreyas Kumar and lawyer Thomas Abraham, reports The Hindu.
Members suspended after the general body meeting included Pradeep Kumar B, Sreeja Sasidharan, Sasthamangalam S Ajithkumar, S Josi, Oommen Rajan, N Binu, Shihabudeen Kariyath and Pettah J Sanalkumar.
They were served suspension memos for appearing for press persons flouting the general body decision of the forum.
The Hindu report quotes Anayara Shaji as saying that the issue was related to the criminal defamation case filed by a member of the bar against former MP Sebastian Paul for making derogatory remarks against the association. The case related to Paulâ€™s speech at a public function, where he flayed lawyers who had blocked the entry of media persons to courts in Kerala. The lawyer who had found it defamatory filed a case with the chief judicial magistrate court.
The bar forum general body had resolved unanimously that none of its members would represent Paul in the case. A total of 47 media organisations and their heads are named as accused in the case.
Shaji also said that the suspended lawyers had accepted the brief of many of the accused in the cases which was a violation of the general bodyâ€™s decision.
â€œThe suspension is a token disciplinary action to preserve the unity of Bar and the sanctity of its general body" said Shaji.
Relations between the lawyers-media fraternities began to sour in July 2016 over the media coverage of a case of an alleged attempt by a government pleader to molest a woman in the city. A series of incidents that followed made it worse.