Bar Council Of India
Bar Council Of India

Dignity, prestige, and honour of Supreme Court Bar eroded due to infighting: BCI stays SCBA resolution suspending Ashok Arora

Shruti Mahajan

The Bar Council of India (BCI) yesterday stayed the resolution passed by the Executive Committee (EC) of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) by which Advocate Ashok Arora was suspended from the post of Secretary.

Weighing in on the controversy surrounding the SCBA's infighting, the BCI said that the dignity, prestige, and honour of the Bar of the Apex Court has eroded.

After the SCBA's EC resolved to suspend Arora, he made a representation before the BCI. On considering the same, the BCI, in its resolution dated May 10, has expressed dismay over the functioning of the SCBA and has stayed the resolution through which Arora was suspended.

Alleging misuse of his SCBA post for political agendas, Arora had called for an Emergent General Meeting (EGM) to oust President Dushyant Dave. Before the EGM could take place, the majority of the EC of the SCBA resolved to suspend Arora with immediate effect.

In this regard, the BCI has said that while it does not think it proper to interfere in the functioning of the SCBA, recent events are likely to have far-reaching effect on the functioning of the Bar Associations.

The resolution says that the BCI members are "dismayed" and "distressed" at the recent turn of events and considered view that "dignity, prestige and honour of the Bar of the Apex Court of the country has been eroded and damaged by unsavory tussle and infighting among Members of the Executive Committee which is elected by General Body of Members."

The BCI adds that this is not the first time the SCBA has faced such unavoidable and unsavoury events involving officer bearers of the Association. While all the office bearers are elected by the General Body of the SCBA, it is not understood how the EC can then remove an office bearer so elected, the BCI resolution states.

In his representation to the BCI, Arora had made allegations against Dave and other members of the EC. The BCI has, however, not gone into the merits of those allegations.

"We would not like to make any comment or observation on any of those allegations as most of them fall essentially in the domain of the general body of Supreme Court Bar Association."
BCI resolution

The BCI says that while the decision of Arora to inform the members of the SCBA that the EGM was being adjourned sine die was a "sensible and mature" decision, the developments that followed as regards Arora's suspension are "baffling".

Thus, the BCI concluded that it is of the unanimous view that the resolution passed to suspend Ashok Arora was beyond the powers of the SCBA EC.

"We are of the unanimous view that the resolution passed by the Executive Committee on 8th May, 2020 suspending Mr. Ashok Arora is beyond the powers of Executive Committee and is, therefore, illegal, cavalier, undemocratic and autocratic in nature. It is vindictive on the face of it."
BCI says in its resolution dated May 10

The action of the EC is "mind-boggling", the BCI further adds, and highlights that normally a show cause notice ought to have been sent to the person concerned before taking an action against them. Therefore, this action is also against the principles of natural justice, BCI has said.

"Mr. Ashok Arora shall continue to hold his elected position as Honorary Secretary of Supreme Court Bar Association and discharge all functions and powers as such. We also direct Mr. Ashok Arora to convene a General Body Meeting of Supreme Court Bar Association within two weeks after the lockdown is over and normal functioning of the Supreme Court starts."
BCI resolution

The SCBA belongs to the members of the Supreme Court Bar and not to the elected few members of the EC, the BCI said in stern words. Therefore, the issue shall be dealt with the General Body of the SCBA in accordance with the laws and the rules, the resolution states.

Read BCI's resolution

BCI resolution - Letter to SCBA.pdf
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