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Madras HC Puts Interim Stay On BCI’s Resolution Deferring New Eligibility Rules For Contesting State Bar Council Polls

The Madras High Court has put an interim stay on the resolution adopted by the Bar Council of India vide which it had deferred the new eligibility conditions, including minimum 10-year practice, brought in by the Special Committee of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu & Puducherry for lawyers to contest in the ensuing elections to Bar Council.

A bench of Justice CT Selvam and Justice N Sathish Kumar stayed in the interim the February 4 resolution passed by the BCI deferring the January 24 resolution passed by the special committee by which it had amended the eligibility conditions like making it mandatory for advocate to have 10 years of continuous practice and filing of 10 vakalats per year etc., for contesting polls to the lawyers’ body.

The court is hearing a petition filed by Advocate V Vasanthkumar challenging the BCI’s resolution deferring Special Committee’s new rules saying the BCI’s move is in violation of the Bar Council of India Rules – Chapter II and is against the BCI’s function to uphold the standards of legal profession.

The court imposed interim stay after it was informed by standing counsel SR Ragunathan that the BCI is to consider the matter afresh on February 18.

While posting the matter for March 1, the bench made it clear that its ad interim stay “shall not act in any manner against the convening of such meeting (on February 18) or conduct thereof”.

It is to be noted that on January 25, the Special Committee of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, under the chair of Advocate General Vijay Narayan, had passed a resolution amending the rules for contesting elections to the lawyers’ body which goes to polls on March 28.

Vide this resolution, the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, Conduct of Election Rules were amended to bring in several eligibility conditions such as only advocates who have been in practice for a continuous period of 10 years as an advocate are entitled to contest in the election and should have filed at least 10 vakalats every year for the previous 5 years prior to the date of filing the nomination etc.

The new rule also bars advocates holding any position in any political party from contesting polls.

It is to be noted that the said rules had come under challenge before the Madras High Court which upheld the amendment early this month while adding that it is for the BCI to approve or disapprove the rules.

The BCI, however, convened a meeting on February 4 and deferred the rules to a later date.

Vasanthkumar said the BCI’s order has been passed without application of mind and in complete negation of the object of Bar Council of India Rules.

“The BCI seems to be indifferent to implement the objectives the Bar Council of India Rules in so far as conduct of elections to uphold the standards of the profession,” he said.

Read the affidavit Here

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