Monday, January 30, 2023

Supreme Court refuses to entertain plea against BCI elections and women’s quota in state bar councils

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The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a plea while asking the petitioner to approach BCI (The Bar Council of India) with regard to the redressal of their grievance. The plea challenges notification issued by the Bar Council with regard to elections for its office bearers and the petitioners further sought 30% reservation for women in State bar council.

The bench comprising of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Abhay S. Oka was hearing a matter with respect to the Bar Council of India where the plea filed sought directions for quashing the election notification dated January 14 issued by the Bar Council of India (respondent No1) for holding the elections of office bearers of Bar Council of India on January 29.The bench granted liberty to approach BCI for the grievance redressal

The petitioners’ (No 1 and 2) in the present plea are Advocates practicing in the State of Himachal and State of Kerala and therefore, her interest is directly involved in the affairs of the Bar Council of India or the State Bar Councils. The issues raised by the petitioner in this petition are all the issues pertaining to the interest of the lawyers of the entire country. Therefore, a petition under Article 32 of the Constitution is filed as the matters raised or any order passed in this writ would affect the entire legal fraternity of the country.

The petition states that the Bar Council of India is a statutory authority created under the Advocates Act, 1961. Prior to the year 2010, the elections of the office bearers of the Bar Council of India used to be held in the month of April since the tenure of the newly elected office bearers start from 16th April onwards. But from the year 2010 this practice was disrupted and the Bar Council of India started holding its election in advance. In the year 2015 the elections were held in the month of December, though the tenure of the newly elected office bearers started w.e.f. April, 2016.

Similarly, the election of office bearers were held in December, 2017 and the tenure of the office bearers started from April, 2018. Similar was the case in the December, 2019. Such practice was adopted without there being any specific rule in this regard.

The petition further alleges that the Bar Council have also enhanced tenure of office bearers vide the impugned notification. It is also submitted that such an enhanced tenure is violative of Article 14 and 19(1) (g) and Article 21 of the Constitution of India. The same has been done without appropriate procedure and without statutory authority.

Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra appeared on behalf of Bar Council of India

Advocate Radhika Gautam appeared for the petitioner Pooja Gupta

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