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BCD elections: Delhi High Court issues notice to Bar Council of India, Bar Council of Delhi

The Delhi High Court has sought response from the Bar Council of India (BCI) and the Bar Council of Delhi on a petition seeking directions to immediately hold elections for the post of 25 BCD members.

The Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Mini Pushkarna passed the orders on a petition filed by Advocate Awanish Kumar, who had earlier contested the BCD polls.

The High Court issued notice to both BCD and BCI returnable by the next date of hearing, which was fixed at January 31, 2024.

The petitioner contended that the last elections to BCD for the post of 25 members was held in March 2018 and the next elections were due in June 2023. However, no process for polls has been initiated till now.

As per the plea, a letter was instead written by the BCD to BCI in March 2023, seeking extension of the tenure of its members by six months. 

On June 20, 2023, BCI informed the BCD that it has extended the tenure of BCD members, which shall last for six months.

Advocate Kumar submitted that BCI and few members of BCD were in illegal ’collusion’ to usurp and monopolise the functioning of BCD and were delaying fresh elections on a frivolous ground of verification of non-practising advocates.

He said the identification and verification of non-practising advocates and verification of their certificates was an unending process and that election could not be delayed for the said frivolous reason.

The petition further challenged a notification issued by the BCI on June 23, 2023 through which it repealed Rule 30 and 32 of the Bar Council of India Certificate and Place of Practice (Verification) Rules, 2015.

As per the new rule, if the term of elected members of any bar council was likely to expire due to delay in the process of identification of non-practising advocates or delay in preparing the electoral roll, the BCI may allow the officer bearers to continue function beyond their extended tenure.

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