Bar Council of India declares resolution as illegal, defective

The Bar Council of India (BCI) has declared as illegal and defective the resolution of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana to hold elections in December this year.

The BCI had on August 26 extended by six months the tenure of the State Bar Council with effect from December 2012 and stayed the holding of elections. Against this order, a petition was filed by five members seeking review of the order on the ground that once election notification was issued, no authority could interfere with the election process.

Rejecting the petition, the BCI said in its order: “The Council is fully aware that normally when the election process has begun, the Election Commission or superior authorities should not interfere with the election process, unless it is a case of gross miscarriage of justice.” It said elections will be held on April 12 and 13 next year.

BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, who presided over a committee comprising BCI member S. Prabhakaran and others, said: “Democracy contemplates that election should be free and fair, so that voters may be in a position to vote for the candidates of their choice. Election should be held properly to inspire confidence in the minds of the electorate that everything is above board.”

In this case, the State Bar Council, at its meeting held in January, decided to prepare the Council’s electoral roll with latest the photograph of members on its roll and the election was to be held only after ensuring the voters’ list with photographs of all members was prepared.

The order said: “The State Bar Council is yet to prepare/update its roll as per the January resolution. Thus, there could have been no declaration of elections, unless there was an updated list of advocates available. The hasty decision to hold election in December was therefore completely erroneous and against the resolution of State Bar Council.”

Pointing out that the decision of the State Bar Council to prepare a photo electoral roll was praiseworthy, the BCI noted that only few State Bar Councils had prepared such a photo electoral roll of their members. The decision of Punjab and Haryana Bar Council should be an example for all other State Bar Councils, the BCI said.

While confirming its earlier order to extend the tenure of Punjab and Haryana Bar Council by six months, the BCI directed the State Council to convene a meeting on November 4 to consider appointing Honorary Secretary cum Returning officer; either to confirm the earlier appointment of Mukesh Berry or to make fresh appointment.

The BCI said the State Council must release the preliminary list of members with their photograph by December 10 and final voters list would be published as per BCI Rules. The BCI directed that election should be held on April 12 and 13.

  • State Bar Council had decided to prepare electoral roll with latest photograph of members

  • “State Bar Council is yet to prepare/update its roll as per the January resolution”