Members of the bar must be elected by lawyers practicing regularly in this court: Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court observed that members of the bar must be elected by genuine voters and lawyers practicing genuinely / regularly in the relevant High Court / tribunal. Foreigners who do not practice regularly in this court cannot be allowed to hijack the system by allowing them to participate in the electoral process to elect members of the Bar Association, the court added.

“The members of the Bar Association office must be elected by the genuine voters and lawyers practicing genuinely / regularly within the High Court and / or the court concerned, and by outsiders who do not practice regularly in this. court cannot be allowed to hijack the system by allowing to participate in the electoral process of electing members of the Bar Association ”, a bench including judges MR Shah and AS Bopanna observed.

The judiciary made the observations while rejecting requests for special permission challenging the Allahabad High Court’s order of August 24-27 to quash the electoral process and impose certain restrictions on the re-holding of the elections. of the Awadh Bar Association.

The elections were called after widespread heckling and misconduct.

Any member of the Bar cannot be allowed to misbehave on the premises of the High Court. The way in which the lawyers acted and behaved badly on 08/14/2021 in the premises of the High Court, where the Awadh Bar Election was taking place, cannot be tolerated and accepted and must be disapproved ”, bench further observed.

“Being a member of the legal profession, which is still considered a noble profession, what message will lawyers who have behaved badly give to the general public”, Court also added.

appear for the petitioners Amit Sachan and Alok Tripathi practicing lawyers and contesting the election of the Bar of Awadh, Senior Counsel R Balasubramanian argued that the High Court, without realizing that it would be very difficult to bring back nearly 4,500 members to vote again in this pandemic situation, annulled the election of the Awadh Bar Association which s ‘is held on August 14, 2021. This was also their assertion as with regard to the previous election, only the ballot was canceled by the returning officer.

Lead counsel also argued that the High Court was not at all justified in declaring new elections since in the election held on August 14, 2021, only 3,614 members out of 4,500 voted directly. and the remaining members who had to vote vote were only 1219.

The bench of the High Court of Judges Ritu Raj Awasthi and Dinesh Kumar Singh had taken suo motu the unruly, incidental and rustic behavior and violation of protocol by some of the lawyers during the Awadh bar elections on August 14, 2021, which ultimately led to the cancellation of the election of the Association of Awadh Bar since this had caused security concerns in the premises of the High Court. He also forced officers and police to intervene to maintain decorum.

The Supreme Court noted that “In the Awadh Bar Association election scheduled to be held on 08/14/2021, the candidates / lawyers along with their supporters entered the voting arena and tore up the ballots. and pushing and behaving badly around lawyers. Even a lawyer was seriously injured and his hand was fractured in the incident. A lawyer suffered a heart attack. “

The Court further observed that the High Court had rightly taken cognizance of the moto and issued various instructions, including the holding of new elections on September 25, 2021.

He also said that the instructions issued by the High Court in paragraph 24 which dealt with the mandatory conditions that must be met by a member of the Awadh Bar Association to participate in the 2021 election, either for the purpose of challenging the election or presenting his / her vote could not be faulted in the particular facts and circumstances of the case since they were issued to maintain the purity of the Bar Association election.

The judiciary also relied on paragraphs 16 to 19 of the Supreme Court judgment in R. Muthukrishnan vs. Registrar General, Madras High Court of Justice, underline the importance of the bar and the role to be played by members of the bar in the administration of justice and on paragraph 31 where it was observed that there is no place to leave the procession in the court enclosure or slogan waving in court. The Supreme Court in the aforementioned case had strongly criticized the misconduct of lawyers in the premises of the Madras High Court, which had resulted in the requisition of the CISF to maintain the security and majesty of the Court and the rule of law. .

Noting that the case was pending in the High Court, the judiciary refrained from making any further observations on the conduct of the lawyers who behaved badly, pushed the lawyers and behaved badly with them.

“We see no reason to interfere with the disputed orders, which, as such, is intended to maintain the purity of the election of members of the bar,” The Supreme Court observed.

Case before the Allahabad High Court

The Court, while taking cognizance of the uproar amid the Awadh Bar Association elections, made it compulsory on August 24 that a member of the Awadh Bar Association participate in the 2021 election either for the purpose of contesting the election or presenting his / her vote, among other conditions, had to be a regular practitioner of the High Court, Lucknow.

He also attached an explanation to clarify who might be called a regular practitioner.

To facilitate the election process, the High Court on August 27 relaxed the conditions determining the “regular practitioner” of this Court (for the purpose of contesting the election or voting) by amending its earlier order (dated August 24) as follows:

(I) The three-year period is reduced to two years.

(II) The minimum number of cases filed in a year over the past two years is ten cases for the year 2019 and 5 cases for the year 2020.

(III) Lawyers whose homes are on Lucknow-Barabanki Road or in settlements on Lucknow-Barabanki Road will be treated as residents of Lucknow.

(IV) Solicitor-commissioners of the oath will be treated as “regular practitioners”.

(V) All members of the Chamber should be included in the definition of “regular practitioner”.

Case title: Amit Sachan & Anr v Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow et al.

Reference: LL 2021 SC 507
Click here to read / download the order

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