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Lawyers are not helpless, capable of canvassing their grievances: Karnataka HC dismisses PIL challenging BCI communication

The petitioner had contended that BCI stated in its communication that those advocates who are not members of Bar Associations would be declared as non-practising advocates.

Rintu Mariam Biju

Observing that lawyers are not "helpless", the Karnataka High Court on Friday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed on behalf of all lawyers across the country.

The main grievance of the petitioner advocate was pertaining to a Bar Council of India (BCI) communication dated July 24. The said communication had directed all Presidents and Secretaries of all Bar Associations in the country to submit details of advocates registered with them as per the format required by the e-Committee of the Supreme Court, within 15 days.

The communication directed for the collection of data of all practising advocates who are members of their respective Bar Associations. Thereafter, once such data is collected, Bar Associations were asked to cross-check the same to ensure that it is as per the format prescribed by BCI.

The petitioner counsel contended that BCI had informed that those advocates who are not members of Bar Associations would be declared as non-practising advocates. BCI does not have the power to do this, he added.

A Divison Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice ES Indiresh held that any person affected by the said July 24 communication could always approach the courts to state his/her grievances.

In this regard, the order reads,

"Thus, aggrieved parties, if any, will be members of the Bar who are capable of canvassing their grievances by filing appropriate proceedings in accordance with law. The aggrieved parties are not helpless and they are not prevented by any disability from espousing their own cause. Hence, we decline to entertain this petition as a PIL and the same is accordingly disposed of."

Karnataka High Court

During the hearing, the Court remarked,

"Why PIL? Those who are affected, they are not poor people on the street. They can adopt legal remedy. The aggrieved parties are advocates. Why can't they come to the Court? Why should be entertain PIL?...Advocates are capable of filing their own cases "

The Court was also prompt to note that no representation was submitted to BCI in the matter before filing the PIL.

[Read the BCI letter here]

BCI Letter.pdf
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