Two days after the Bar Council of India announced the schedule of elections of various state bar councils, a petition was moved before the Madras High Court on Wednesday for the appointment of judge-commissioners to supervise the elections to the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
A bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose agreed that there was no doubt that elections to the bar councils should be free and fair, it did not pass any order on the petition since the issue of elections to the bar councils is pending before the Supreme Court.
The bench decided to wait for the order of the apex court to see if it can interfere in the matter and posted the same for February 5.
On January 22, the BCI had announced the schedule for elections to the state bar councils.
The Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will go to polls on March 28.
The instant petition has been filed by an advocate seeking directions to conduct elections of Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry under the supervision of one or more judge commissioners appointed by the high court the way it was done in elections in 2011.
It also sought framing of a scheme to ensure the elections are free of bribery, corruption and other malpractices.
The petitioner said as long as the bar councils are led by persons guided by principles and standards of legal profession, the functioning of courts will be smooth and without collision between the Bar and the Bench, and the relationship between the two would be conducive to the administration of justice.
In an affidavit filed before the court, it was averred that of late, the membership of the bar council has become a much-coveted office as its members yield extra-official authority and attempts are made to win the elections by hook or by crook by indulging in malpractices including incentives to buy votes.
“There can be no doubt that elections to the Bar Councils should be free and fair and free from malpractices and corruption …,” the bench remarked.
“Considering the submission of the parties and the undoubted need for free and fair elections, perhaps the prayer for appointment of a neutral committee of retired judges, either of the Supreme Court or of this court, may be justified. However, the question is whether we should pass any order at this stage when the Supreme Court is in seizen of the election of the Bar Councils,” it noted.
Since the matter is posted for hearing before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, the high court decided to wait and posted the petition on February 5.