Allahabad High Court has held that Bar Council has no jurisdiction to interfere in the functioning of the Elders Committee of Bar Association.
The petitioners, in this case, had challenged the order passed by the Chairman, Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh, Allahabad whereby the Elders Committee of the Meerut Bar Association was replaced by another five-member Committee.
Brief Facts of the Case:-
Mr Shayam Singh, who is an advocate by profession had taken objection to the fact that two members of the Elders Committee were not in active practice and therefore should not be a part of the Committee.
The respondent, Chairman, Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh, took note of the objection and after examining the voter list, concluded that Advocates Laxmi Chandra Tyagi and Gopal Krishna Chaturvedi were not in active practice and their names were removed from the Elders Committee.
Apart from the advocates mentioned above, Mr Braham Pal Singh who was also a member of the Committee was removed from his post.
Two petitioners in the case who were duly elected under the bye-laws of the Committee and have stated before the Court that Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh has no jurisdiction to replace/re-constitute the Elders Committee and thereby interfere in the ongoing election process initiated by the Outgoing Committee, i.e. the Executive Committee of the Bar Association term.
It was further submitted that the new Elders Committee was illegally constituted and the orders passed by them should be quashed.
Arguments raised by the respondents before the Allahabad High Court
Learned counsel for the respondents argued that the tenure of both the petitioners had expired. Therefore they had no locus to file this petition and seek directions for holding elections.
It was further argued that the Committee could be in charge of affairs only for one year plus one month, this period expired on 03.06.2020. Therefore the outgoing cannot hold elections as they have no powers vested in them.
Learned also submitted that only the Elders Committee can hold elections and because dates for the elections have already been notified, interference from the Court would be a step to stall the democratic process of elections that too at the instance of those persons who have no say in the matter
Rejoinder of the Petitioners before the Allahabad High Court
In their rejoinder, the petitioners relied on Committee of Management, Vidyawati Higher Secondary School Shahpur, Sarain Azamgarh and another Vs. Assistant Registrar Firms, Societies and Chits, Azamgarh & others where it was held that the outgoing office bearers( Executive Committee) have the right to hold elections till the Registrar passes an order under section 25(2) of the Societies Registration Act’ 1960. In this case, no such orders have been passed.
Reliance was also placed on Janpad Diwani Evam Faujdari Bar Association, Gautam Budh Nagar and Another Vs. Bar Council of U.P. & others where the Court held that the Bar Council could not interfere in the election conducted by the Association or stop the Elders Committee from conducting elections.
The reasoning of the Allahabad High Court
Hon’ble Allahabad High Court observed the fact that as per the bye-laws of the Association, the Elders Committee is a statutory committee and any dispute that arises regarding its constitution can be raised either before the General Body of Association or the Elders committee only.
It was further observed by Allahabad High Court that as per Section 21 of the Advocates Act, the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh could only decide issues related to seniority.
Allahabad High Court also observed that under the Bye-laws of the Association, the role of Bar Council of India ends with the approval of the Bye-laws, in so far as the elections of the office bearers or constitution of the committees of the registered Association, any dispute relating to the office bearers of the Association elected under Clause 16 of the Bye-laws, by whatsoever named it may be called, can only be raised before the prescribed authority under Section 25 of the Societies Registration Act.
The Allahabad High Court also noted that as the Elder’s Committee was a permanent statutory body and was constituted under the Bye-law of the Association, the Chairman of the Bar Council of U.P did not have the power to replace its members.
The decision of the Allahabad High Court
The Allahabad High Court Court held that the order passed by the Chairman, Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh, Allahabad should be quashed as he did not have the jurisdiction to pass such an order and that makes the order illegal.
It was also held that the new Elders Committee that was constituted by the respondent no.3 was incompetent to interfere in the affairs of the Association.
Thus, the writ petition was allowed by the Allahabad High Court.
Title: Meerut Bar Association And Another vs Bar Council Of Uttar Pradesh & Ors
Case No. WRIT – C No. – 13067 of 2020
Date Of Order: 09.09.2020
Coram: Hon’ble Justice Sunita Agarwal and Hon’ble Justice Ajay Bhanot
Advocates: Counsel for Petitioner :- Vivek Saran,Anoop Trivedi (Senior Adv.) Counsel for Respondent :- C.S.C.,Swetashwa Agarwal