Bribery, Booth Capturing, use of Posters among Corrupt Practices prohibited by BCI in new Bar Election Rules

Bribery, Booth Capturing, use of Posters among Corrupt Practices prohibited by BCI in new Bar Election Rules

Bar & Bench

The Bar Council of India (BCI) has issued new rules meant to curb corrupt practices in the process of Bar Association elections.  The new Rules have been added as part of Chapter IIA, Part VI of the BCI Rules.

They were approved by the BCI General Council  in a meeting held in April this year. A notifiction was issued yesterday by the BCI to State Bar Councils so that the new rules may be circulated among Bar Associations across the country for strict adherence.

The first part of the new rules defines various corrupt practices that are now expressly prohibited during the process of Bar elections. The list of such corrupt practices include the following.

  • Bribery, which has been defined in detail and meant to tackle such practices which may influence the voter or the candidate. 
  • Undue influence, including efforts to socially ostracise any voter or candidate, or induce such person into believing that s/he will insure “divine of spiritual censure” so as to interfere with the free exercise of electoral rights. 
  • Appeals to vote or refrain from voting on grounds of religion, race, caste, community, language or on the basis of appeals to national symbols, thereby prejudicially affecting another candidate’s election prospects.
  • Promotion of enmity or hatred between different classes of people on the basis of religion, case, community, language etc.
  • Publication of false statements regarding the character of conduct of election candidates, calculated to prejudice the candidate’s election prospects.
  • Hiring or procuring vehicles to freely transport any voter, other than the candidate himself or his agent, to the polling station (s).
  • Incurring or authorising election expenditure exceeding the limit fixed by the BCI. All electoral candidates are expected to maintain a regular account of all expenditure incurred or authorised by him between the date of nomination till the date of declaration of elections results. Personal expenditure for boarding, travel etc. for the election would not be counted as election expenditure. 
  • Obtaining assistance from Government servants specified to promote the election prospects of a candidate. The Government servants specified include gazetted officers, judicial officers, armed forces, the police, excise officers, revenue and other government officials. 
  • Booth capturing
  • Use of hoardings, posters etc. to promote one’s candidature at public places including Bar Rooms, Court premises etc. However, the candidate is allowed to distribute election material in the form of pamphlets, leaflets, letters, e-mails etc. All the same, such promotion should be done in a manner that does not disrupt the functioning of the Courts, interfere with the professional work of advocates or cause nuisance or disturbance to litigants.

The second part of the newly introduced rules lays down that the commission of any of the above corrupt practises would amount to professional misconduct.

Electoral candidates found indulging in these practices are liable to have their nomination cancelled upon the satisfaction of the Returning Officer, it is further provided.

[Read the new BCI Bar Election Rules below]

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