Allahabad HC Rules Bar Council Cannot Compel State Bar Association to Grant or Refuse Membership

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LI Network

Published on: 12 September 2023 at 17:05 IST

The Allahabad High Court has clarified that neither the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh nor its functionaries possess the authority to force any Bar Association to accept or reject membership applications from advocates.

This landmark decision came as the Court dismissed a plea that sought to compel the Kanpur Bar Association to adhere to an order issued by the Bar Council’s Vice Chairman regarding the inclusion of two advocates’ names in the Association’s electoral list.

The petition, brought forth by the two advocates, aimed to secure a directive from the Court obliging the Kanpur Bar Association to follow the Vice Chairman’s order concerning their inclusion in the electoral list.

A division bench comprising Justices Saumitra Dayal Singh and Rajendra Kumar-IV made it clear that the writ Court does not function as an execution body for the Bar Council. Furthermore, the Court emphasized that there is no statutory obligation placed upon the Bar Council to issue directives to an independent Bar Association regarding the renewal or reactivation of an individual’s membership or registration.

The Court’s order stated, “The powers being referred to by learned counsel for the petitioners are clearly not powers vested in the Bar Council or its functionaries to compel any Bar Association to grant or refuse to grant membership by any Bar Association.”

Counsel for the petitioners argued that Section 6(1)(d) of the Advocates Act, 1961, empowers the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh to issue appropriate orders for the protection of the rights, privileges, and interests of advocates. However, the Court clarified that these powers are intended to safeguard the collective interests, rights, and privileges of advocates as a group and do not extend to individual advocate rights.

The Court concluded, “In the context of individual rights claimed by the petitioners to be revived as a member of Kanpur Bar Association, we find no jurisdiction existing with the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh to issue any binding direction to the Bar Association to grant such membership.”

Consequently, the Court determined that the Bar Council Vice Chairman’s directive regarding the membership of the two advocates served as informational or advisory in nature. The Kanpur Bar Association is now free to consider the issue on its own merits.

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