The Chairmanship Conundrum: BCI withdraws ‘concession’ granted to Tamil Nadu lawyer S. Prabakaran; MK Mishra elected for a 2 year term from April

Putting an end to the hullaballoo over the actual appointee to the post of Chairman of Bar Council of India, the apex regulatory body has issued a notification withdrawing the ‘authorization’ and ‘concession’ granted to Tamil Nadu lawyer S. Prabakaran.

The news of Mr. Prabakaran being elected as the Chairman spread like wildfire yesterday, with him communicating his vision for the post as well. “My priority will be strengthening and revamping the legal education and streamline the legal profession. We have to address the problems faced by the advocates throughout the country by way of talks, without resorting to any form of agitation,” he told Express on Sunday. He claimed to have been appointed unanimously for a period of four months, till Mr. Manan Kumar Mishra took over in April.

Vexed with the reports, Mr. Mishra then informed TOI that he continues to be the “sole chairman” of BCI after being re-elected unanimously. He claimed that he had merely told Mr. Prabakaran that during his absence, he may discharge the routine functions of the Council. “After the elections were held I had said that during my absence Prabakaran may discharge the routine functions of the council. It excluded taking any financial decisions and was more in the nature of a concession to his long standing membership. But this concession now stands immediately withdrawn because he has gone ahead and given statements to the press declaring himself as the BCI chairman,” Mr. Mishra was quoted as saying.

The authorization has been withdrawn with an official notification, in view of the “strong objection” of the Vice-Chairman and several Members of Bar Council of India, because of “wrong, baseless press-releases and news”.

“As per order passed by the Chairman, BCI, Mr. Prabakaran shall not be allowed to look after the routine works of the Council even in absence of Hon’ble Chairman. Hon’ble Chairman has withdrawn/recalled the said concession/authorization granted to Mr. S. Prabakaran on 10.1.2016.  In absence of Chairman, the Vice-Chairman, BCI will look-after the routine affairs of the Council as per the Rules,” the notification further stated.

Vice-Chairman Satish Deshmukh had also shot off a strongly worded letter to Mr. Mishra, questioning the need for delegating powers to Mr. Prabakaran, when the Vice Chairman continued to occupy the post.

Mr. Prabakaran however, has been firm with his claim and told TOI that according to the Constitution of BCI, he is the Chairman for three months since Mishra can start his next tenure only from April.

Mr. Mishra was elected as the BCI Chairman in April 2012 and was succeeded by Mr. Biri Singh Sinsinwar in 2014. Eight months into the term, Mr. Sinsinwar resigned from the post and Mr. Mishra was re-elected.