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February 25, 2018
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Madras HC upholds validity of new rules for Bar council pollsThe new rules bars lawyers holding office in any political party, criminal background and those having less than 10 years of experience in the Bar.

The Madras High Court on Monday upheld validity of new eligibility conditions imposed by a special committee, chaired by Advocate General Vijay Narayan, for lawyers to contest in ensuing elections to Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

The first Division Bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose, however, held that the rules would come into force only after approval by the Bar Council of India (BCI) which had taken up the agenda on Sunday but deferred its decision to a later date.

Holding that the BCI could approve/disapprove either all the eligibility conditions or only a part of them, the Bench ordered that in the meantime, applications of lawyers who possess less than 10 years of Bar experience may be accepted subject to BCI’s decision on the issue.

The judgement was passed on a couple of writ petitions challenging the new eligibility conditions on the ground that neither the State Bar Council nor the special committee constituted for interim administration were empowered to frame eligibility conditions.

Rejecting the contention, the Division Bench held that the State Bar councils as well as BCI had concurrent jurisdiction to frame rules on the subject. They also said that the special committee was well within its powers to frame the rules in the interest of maintaining purity in the profession.

However, the law requires such conditions to be approved by the BCI, it added.

The new eligibility conditions bars lawyers holding office in any political party and those who had been punished for contempt of court and even those against whom criminal cases were pending from contesting elections. They also bar lawyer’s with less than 10 years of Bar experience.