The Supreme Court on Monday stayed a Madras High Court order approving the new by-law of the Madras High Court Advocates Association for holding elections to the office bearers and issuing certain directions.

A vacation Bench of Justice G.S. Singhvi and Justice C.K. Prasad stayed the order on a special leave petition filed by advocate R. Sudha challenging the High Court order dated April 16.

When senior counsel Ratnakar Dash appearing for the petitioner submitted that unreasonable rules had been framed for the elections and members were discriminated, Justice Singhvi observed “the High Court Division Bench has virtually taken over the functioning of the advocates association for the last four years. How can you discriminate among the members {in contesting elections}. We will have to examine whether the High Court is justified in passing such orders.”

The Bench, while staying the order, issued notice to the four office-bearers of the MHAA returnable in six weeks seeking their response.

In her SLP, Ms. Sudha said she was elected as Librarian during 2008-2009. The High Court in its order had issued various directions regarding the management of the MHAA and approved the new by-law fixing eligibility for members to contest elections to the MHAA.

She said the new by-law would seriously prejudice the rights of the junior advocates to contest the elections.

Assailing the order, she said the High Court had interfered with the internal management of the association.

She said the High Court had failed to note that it had no authority to amend or approve the by-laws of the association registered under the Societies Registration Act. She said it was the duty of the court to scrutinise the validity of the by-laws challenged before it and if the law “does not appear to be validly framed, to declare it ultra vires and not to give effect to it.”

She said the High Court had mechanically approved the by-laws prepared by a few committee members even without considering the adverse impact on the ordinary member of the association. She sought to quash the impugned order and an interim stay of its operation.

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