The Supreme Court has observed that the members of the Bar Association must be elected by genuine voters and genuinely/regularly practicing lawyers 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 process of electing members of the Bar Association, the Court added.
“Members of the Bar Association office shall be elected by the bona fide voters and barristers genuinely/regularly practicing in the High Court and/or relevant court, and foreigners not practicing regularly in such court may not be authorized to hijack the system by allowing participation in the electoral process of electing members of the Bar Association”, observed a bench consisting of Judges MR Shah and AS Bopanna.
The bench made these observations while rejecting special leave applications attacking the order of the Allahabad High Court dated August 24 and 27 to nullify the electoral process and impose certain restrictions when holding elections. Awadh Bar Association elections.
The elections were canceled after widespread heckling and misconduct.
“No member of the Bar may be allowed to misbehave on the premises of the Tribunal de Grande Instance. The manner in which lawyers acted and misbehaved on 14.08.2021 at the premises of the High Court, where the election of the Awadh Bar Association was taking place, cannot be tolerated and accepted and must be belittled . » shoal further observed.
“Being a member of the legal profession, which is still considered a noble profession, what message will lawyers, who have misbehaved, give to the general public?” Court also added.
Appear for Petitioners Amit Sachan and Alok Tripathi who practice the profession of lawyer and stand for election to the Awadh Bar Association, Senior Attorney R Balasubramanian argued that the High Court, not realizing that it would be very difficult to bring back nearly 4500 members to vote in this pandemic situation, nullified the Awadh Bar Association election held on August 14, 2021. It was also their assertion that with respect to the previous election, only the ballot was voided by the returning officer.
The lead solicitor 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 3614 out of 4500 members cast direct ballots and the remaining members who had to vote vote were only 1219.
The seat of the High Court of Judges Ritu Raj Awasthi and Dinesh Kumar Singh had become aware suo motu of the unruly, incidental and rustic behavior and violation of protocol by some of the lawyers during the Awadh Bar Election on August 14, 2021, which ultimately led to the annulment of the election of the Awadh Bar Association as this had caused security problems at the High Court premises. She had also forced officers and police to intervene to maintain decorum.
The Supreme Court noted that “During the Awadh Bar Association election which was to be held on 14.08.2021, the candidates/lawyers along with their supporters entered the voting arena and indulged in tearing up ballot papers and pushing female lawyers and misbehaving with them. 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 notice suo moto and issued various instructions including the holding of new elections on 25 September 2021.
He also said that the instructions issued by the High Court in paragraph 24 which dealt with the mandatory requirements that had to be met by a member of the Awadh Bar Association to participate in the 2021 election either for the purpose of challenging election or to cast his/her vote could not be questioned in the particular facts and circumstances of the case since they were issued to maintain the purity of the Bar Association election.
The Panel also relied on paragraphs 16 to 19 of the Top Court’s judgment in R. Muthukrishnan Vs. Registrar General, High Court of Judicature at Madras, emphasize the importance of the bar and the role that members of the bar must play in the system of administration of justice and on paragraph 31 in which it was observed that there is no place to leave the procession in the premises of the court or slogans raised in front of the courts. The Supreme Court in the above-mentioned case had strongly criticized the misconduct of the lawyers in the premises of the High Court of Madras, which resulted in the requisition of the CISF for the maintenance of the security and majesty of the Court and the rule of law.
Noting that the case was pending in the High Court, the panel refrained from making any further comments on the conduct of the lawyers who misbehaved, shoved the female lawyers and behaved badly with them.
“We see no reason to interfere with the contested orders, which as such are intended to maintain the purity of the election of members of the Bar Association,” Top Court watched.
Case in Allahabad High Court
The Court, while taking cognizance of the heckling amid the Awadh Bar Association elections, had made it mandatory on August 24 that a member of the Awadh Bar Association participate in the 2021 election either for the purpose of to contest the election or cast his/her vote, among other conditions, had to be a regular practitioner of the High Court of Lucknow.
He also attached an explanation to clarify who could 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 purposes of contesting the election or voting) by amending its earlier order (dated August 24) in the following way:
(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 houses are on the Lucknow-Barabanki road or in settlements on the Lucknow-Barabanki road will be treated as residents of Lucknow.
(IV) Lawyers-Commissioners for oaths will be treated as “regular practitioners”.
(V) All assignees of the Chamber must be included in the definition of “regular practitioner”.
Case Title: Amit Sachan & Anr v Uttar Pradesh Bar Council, Lucknow and Others
Reference: LL 2021 SC 507
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