The Karnataka High Court has delivered a Judgment holding that a Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution is maintainable against the Bar Association.
A Bench of Hon’ble Justice G Narendar and Hon’ble Justice M.I. Arun has held this while deciding an appeal filed by an advocate against the Bar Association.
On the factual front, in this case the Petitioner challenged the election of the President of Bar Association. The Single Judge dismissed the Writ Petition holding that the Bar Association does not fall in the definition of “State” under Article 12 of Constitution.
Opposing the Writ Petition it was submitted before the court that the Bar Association is registered under the Societies Registration Act and being a private entity, writ petition would not lie against the Bar Association.
Further, the Bar Association does not have any element of public law and not funded or controlled by the State Government, therefore judicial review under Article 226 is not permissible.
Decision in Appeal
The matter went into appeal and a Division Bench after referring to the battery of Judgments of High Courts and Judgment of Supreme Court in the case of Supreme Court Bar Association vs B D Kaushik (2011) 13 SCC 774 held that Bar Association is amenable to the Writ Jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.
More particularly when the issue involved is of the elections of the bar, the writ is definitely maintainable.
After referring to the objects and provisions of the bye laws of the Bar Association, the Court held that some of the objects and duties cast upon the bar have a public character.
The Court further observed that Advocates are officers of the court and help the court in justice delivery system. As such the members of the society (Bar Association) are answerable to the court and to the Bar Council in professional conduct, therefore such a society cannot be said to be a private entity.
Further the Court observed that the Bar Association receives fund from the Court and is situated in the Court premises, also it is under the direct control of Bar Council, as such it cannot be said that Writ Petition against a Bar Association is not maintainable.
Title: Shri Chandrakant vs Karnataka State Bar Council
Case No.: Writ Appeal No. 100141 of 2020
Coram: Hon’ble Justice G Narendar and Hon’ble Justice M.I. Arun