Police can Take Against Lawyers Misusing of ‘Advocate Stickers’ on Private Vehicles: Madras High Court 

In a significant ruling on Tuesday, the Madras High Court empowered police to take strict action against the misuse of ‘advocate’ stickers on private vehicles. The decision came during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) that highlighted lawyers using such stickers to evade traffic rules and claim undue immunity.

The PIL, brought forward by S Devadoss Gandhi Wilson, pointed out that unlike medical practitioners who may require vehicle stickers for emergency purposes, lawyers do not have a legitimate need for such identifiers once they are outside the courtroom. The petitioner argued that the use of these stickers to intimidate and escape police scrutiny is unlawful and undermines traffic regulations.

The bench, consisting of Acting Chief Justice R Mahadevan and Justice Mohammed Shafiq, emphasized the need for the police to act decisively. “The police need not be afraid of anything. There exist multiple orders even by the Supreme Court against the use of random stickers. Go take proper action, do not be afraid,” the court advised.

Further proceedings revealed that members of the Madras Bar Association (MBA), as well as other local lawyers, often use not only the Tamil Nadu Bar Association stickers but also a specific membership sticker when practicing at the Madras High Court. The petitioner suggested that such membership stickers be kept under the car’s sunshades and displayed only when necessary to parking attendants or police, a proposal that the court did not specifically endorse.

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ACJ Mahadevan firmly stated, “We are not going to get into all that. The police are permitted to take action. It is not just this Court that is saying this. The Supreme Court has also said it.”

Concluding the session, the court issued notices to the State government and the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu, demanding a counter-file before the next hearing, scheduled in two weeks. 

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