Can Bar Association Claim Exemption From Paying Electricity Bills? Supreme Court to Consider

The Supreme Court has issued a notice in response to a plea from the High Court Advocates Bar Association, Jabalpur, and the M.P. High Court Bar Association. The petition challenges a Madhya Pradesh High Court order that dismissed their writ petition against the disconnection of their electricity supply and seeks a stay on the recovery of the bill.

During the hearing, the Vacation Bench, consisting of Justices Manoj Misra and SVN Bhatti, acknowledged the concerns of the Bar but stressed the importance of considering the broader implications. The Bench tagged this case with a similar pending matter set for August.

Justice Bhatti raised questions about the rationale behind ordinary consumers bearing the cost of electricity used by the Bar. He underscored that institutions like the Parliament, Supreme Court, and High Court are also required to pay for their electricity consumption.

The Bar Associations’ plea also called for the State of Madhya Pradesh and the Department of Law to cover their electricity expenses. Their counsel highlighted a previous Division Bench ruling that exempted the Bar from such charges, citing their essential role in the justice system.

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The cost in question is approximately 94 lakhs, with the Bar facilities housing 70-80 chambers and 700-800 tables for lawyers.

Case Reference:

M.P. HIGH COURT BAR ASSOCIATION v. THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH AND ORS, SLP(C) No. 13331/2024

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