Observing that the ensuing elections to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry is more glorified for use of money power, communal power, political power, muscle power and liquor power, the Madras High Court has set out directions for the Bar Council of India, the police and the Income Tax Department to ensure fake lawyers or those indulging in corruption to win elections can be weeded out while directing that only those lawyers who have 10 reported judgments, five contested judgments in each year in the previous five years can contest elections and those holding posts of profit are barred.
The court also quashed the January 4 resolution of the BCI vide which it had deferred taking any decision on the amended eligibility rules prepared by the special committee for those desirous of contesting polls of the State Bar Council.
Here are the directions issued by the bench of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice R Tharani:
Directions to the Bar Council of India:
The Bar Council of India is directed to:
Directions to the Returning Officer:
(B) The Hon’ble Returning Officer is to
(a) who produce atleast,
(i) 10 reported judgments,
(ii) 5 contested judgments for each year in the previous five years to the election year 2018 or 25 contested judgments in toto; if they are high court practitioners, to prove their continuous practice and their contribution to the development of law;
(b) who produce atleast 5 contested judgments for each year in the preceding five years to the election year 2018 or 25 contested judgments in toto, if they are practitioners before the Subordinate Courts, to prove their continuous practice and their contribution to the development of law;
Directions to Director General of Police:
Directions to Income Tax Department:
While passing the string of directions to various agencies, the court put down some “lingering questions for which answers have to be found:
Justice Kirubakaran said, “Every advocate needs to introspect about the position of legal profession and shun bribery in the interest of the legal profession, society, above all justice delivery system for better days to come. If not, even God cannot save the Legal Profession”.
The court suo motu impleaded Principal Director (Investigation), Income Tax Department.
No analogy between polls to Parliamentary bodies and Bar Councils
The court said, “It is true in politics and in election to local and Parliamentary bodies as in trade as well as certain other spheres advertisement and canvassing are a normal feature. But what obtains in such cases is certainly taboo in elections to Bar Councils. What is proper in these cases is clearly improper in the case of the Bar Council. There is certainly no analogy between the two.
“Therefore, there shall be a direction prohibiting the contestants including their supporters, friends etc., from advertising or canvassing in any form in the ensuing Bar Council Election. If anybody is found to be advertising and canvassing and if the same is proved by way of a complaint, they shall be debarred from contesting the election and even if they win the elections, it can be a ground for setting aside their election”.
8th-grade dropout contesting Bar Council elections
The bench was shocked to note from a poster produced before it that one TK Sathyaseelan, who is alleged to have completed only 8th standard, was able to obtain MA Degree through open university and thereafter, secure a Law Degree and is contesting the election to Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for the post of chairman.
“It is pitiable to note that the said person does not even know that there is no election directly to the chairmanship in Bar Council. It is interesting to note that he is said to have got enrolled only in the year 2014 and within one year, he became such a “senior lawyer” to float an association in the name of “All India Advocate Federation” in the year 2015. This kind of floating advocates’ associations, for ulterior motives, is on the rise nowadays and it has to be prevented by appropriate directions,” said the bench.
The matter is now listed for March 2.