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Supreme Court Declined to entertain Writ Petition by Advocate challenging imposed bar by BCI from contesting election

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Published on: December 1, 2023 at 01:26 IST

The Supreme Court refused to entertain a writ petition filed by Advocate Gunratan Sadavarte challenging the Bar Council of India’s (BCI) decision barring him from contesting elections in any Bar Council.

The BCI had imposed this restriction in response to alleged disruptions during the election counting process on July 13, 2018.

The bench, comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela Trivedi, directed the petitioner to approach the relevant High Court instead of seeking direct recourse to the Supreme Court.

The justices suggested filing a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution in the jurisdictional High Court as the initial course of action.

The bench stated: “We are of the opinion that the petitioner should approach jurisdictional HC of his choice by way of a writ petition under Art. 226 of the Constitution rather than approaching this court as the first instance under Art. 32. Accordingly, we exercise discretion not to entertain this writ petition with liberty to the petitioner to approach jurisdictional HC.”

Additionally, the bench considered a Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by the petitioner challenging the Bombay High Court’s refusal to entertain a writ petition against the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa’s decision to suspend his license for two years. This suspension was related to Sadavarte wearing a lawyer’s coat outside the Bombay High Court during a protest.

Regarding the SLP, the bench allowed its withdrawal without commenting on the merits of the matter. The SLP was dismissed as withdrawn.

During the hearing, Senior Advocate Gopal Sankarnarayan, representing Sadavarte, provided a detailed overview of the case, emphasizing the advocate’s background and involvement in bar council elections. The complaints against Sadavarte, including disruptions during the election counting and a suspension for protesting outside the Bombay High Court, were outlined.

Despite the court’s reluctance to act as a court of first instance, Shankarnarayan argued that the advanced stage of proceedings and the constitutional relevance of Article 19(1)(g) justified continued consideration in the Supreme Court.

While dismissing the writ petition, the court allowed the petitioner to submit the entire documentation to the High Court, recognizing the urgency expressed and granting permission to request an expedited resolution.

The court concluded by noting the urgency and permitting the petitioner to seek prompt disposal from the High Court, officially dismissing the writ petition as not entertained.

Case title: Gunratan Niwartirao Sadvarte v. Bar Council of India