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State Bar Council can’t interfere in the affairs of the Bar Associations: Madhya Pradesh HC

Team SoOLEGAL 19 Jan 2018 3:09pm

State Bar Council can’t interfere in the affairs of the Bar Associations: Madhya Pradesh HC

The Madhya Pradesh High Court has held that the Bar Council of the State holds no authority or jurisdiction to interfere in the affairs of the Bar Associations. The HC order was delivered by a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Vijay Kumar Shukla, while allowing two similar writ petitions.

While the first petition was filed from the Bar Association, Lahar, District Bhind, the other was filed by the Bar Association, Chachoda, District Guna.

The first petition wanted the HC to assail orders of the Bar Council’s Appellate Committee, which has set aside the election of the petitioner from the Bar Association in suo motu proceedings.

In another petition emanated from the Guna District Bar Association, the State Bar Council passed the order directing the Association to submit the records regarding suspension of the membership of an advocate. The Bar Association was also ordered to furnish the income and expenses details about the Bar Association election.

In both of the above cases, the common issue that needed consideration was whether the State Bar Council has authority to interfere with the affairs of the Bar Association.

On behalf of the State Bar Council, it had been contended that the Bar Council was a statutory body having legal obligations to take necessary action to maintain uniformity and fair elections. In addition, the Bar Council is also responsible for the welfare of the advocates.

The Bar Council also placed its reliance on the case of Supreme Court Bar Association and others v BD Kaushik, wherein the State Bar Council has been conferred the power to supervise the elections of Bar Associations while applying the principle of ‘one bar one vote’.

However, the High Court distinguished this case, stating,

“We do not find any force in the said argument as in BD Kaushik (supra) was a matter of membership of the Supreme Court Bar Association arising out the proceedings of the civil suit. The Apex Court emphasized on the principle of ‘one bar one vote’, but the apex Court has not held that the Bar Council shall have the power to interfere with the elections of the Bar Associations.”

The Court then advanced to examine relevant provisions in the Advocates Act, 1961 as well as the Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 1982. The Court found that,

“…from a bare reading of the various provisions of the Act it is graphically clear that there is no provision either under the Act or under the Advocates Welfare Fund Act, 1982 to interfere with the elections conducted by the Bar Associations.”

Thus, the Court concluded,

“In view of consideration of the statutory provisions of the Act and the Advocates Welfare Fund Act, we do not find any provision conferring the power on the State Bar Council to interfere with the election process or with the election of a Bar Association.”

Tagged: Madhya Pradesh High Court   Bar Council of the State   Bar Associations  
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