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The Bar Council of India (BCI) has issued a release modifying its earlier directive to stay all Bar Council/Association elections until the finalisation of new rules concerning various aspects, including the introduction of a minimum experience criterion to practice in High Courts and Supreme Court.
In a statement issued on Monday, the BCI has clarified,
“… the Bar Council of India has resolved that any Bar Association in the country where Bar elections are already due, may go ahead with the election process to hold elections and those Bar Associations where election issue is subjudice in courts for any reason, such Bar Associations may hold election as per order of the court, if so required. It’s further clarified that the proposed rules of Bar Council of India to provide eligibility norms for candidates to participate in elections of Bar Council and Bar Associations shall come into force from the date these are published in the gazette as per applicable rules.
Therefore, if Bar Election in any Bar Association anywhere in the country becomes due before publication of notification of the proposed eligibility rules of Bar Council of India, such Bar Association(s) can also conduct election as per it’s own rules.(sic)”
Further, in today’s release, the BCI has also advised State Bar Councils to ensure that elections to various Bar Associations be conducted on the same day, to “minimise unwarranted interference of those who are neither members nor voter of the Bar Association where election is going to be held.” In this regard the BCI observes,
“This advisory has become necessary upon observation that in elections of District Court Bar Associations, crowd of non-members and non-voters who do not regularly practice in that district court, gather to influence the election, which, sometimes lead to undeserving representations and unpleasant, untoward incidents.”
Last week, the BCI had mooted a proposal to introduce a mandatory experience clause for newly enrolled advocates before they practice at the Supreme Court or the High Courts. In this regard, the body has opined that every newly enrolled lawyer should be required to practice in a District/Taluka Court for a period of at least two years before entering any High Court. Similarly, a two year High Court experience pre-condition has been proposed before allowing lawyers to practice in the Supreme Court.
Inter alia, the BCI had also called for introducing compulsory continuous legal education for lawyers and re-introducing experience requirements for judicial officers in the subordinate judiciary. The release issued on November 22 had intimated that new rules in this regard were likely to be finalised before March next year. In the meanwhile, the BCI had directed that no Bar elections be held across India.
Today’s release has now modified this embargo, so as to not interfere with Bar elections that are due, or likely to be directed by courts.
[Read the BCI Press Release dated November 25, 2019]