Madras High Court (partly) stays order directing abolition of Bar Council of India (Updated)

The Madras High Court has partly stayed the order passed by Justice Kirubakaran directing the winding up of the Bar Council of India, reports The Hindu.

A Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice TS Sivagnanam last week partly stayed the order on an appeal filed by the Bar Council of India. According to the same report, four of Justice Kirubakaran’s fourteen directions were stayed by the Division Bench.

Justice Kirubakaran had passed the order on October 6 suggesting, among other things, the entrustment of the BCI’s functions to an expert body headed by a retired Supreme Court judge.

The order also suggested doing away with the 3-year law course, and making the background verification of advocates a compulsory for contesting bar elections.

Update: The following four directions in Justice Kirubakaran’s judgment have been stayed –

10)  Union of India is to consider positively, within six months, to entrust the functions of the Bar Council of India to an expert body, headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge permanently or till The Advocates Act and the Bar Council Rules are revisited, nominating Academicians, Legal Luminaries, prominent  social workers, retired I.A.S Officers, police officers and Doctors as members as the electoral system followed by Bar Council failed to elect appropriate persons as members of Bar Council resulting in making the Council incapable of handling issues properly.

11)  Bar Council of India shall not conduct the next Bar Council election, after expiry of the present term in 2016, without prescribing minimum qualification like 20 years standing in the Bar or a Senior counsel, who does not have any criminal case or criminal background for the candidates to contest Bar Council elections and till the verification of advocates is done as per “Bar Council of India Certificate and Place of practice (Verification) Rules 2015, by entrusting the functions to an expert body.

This direction is partly stayed – only the part which says that the BCI elections will be done by expert body and not BCI has been stayed; the rest of the direction is operative.

13) Bar Council of India is to abolish three year Law Degree Course at the earliest and retain only five year Law Degree Course on par with other Professional Courses like Medicine and Engineering, to make the course as a serious one.

14) Bar Council of India shall direct the State Bar Councils to withdraw the recognition/approval given to various Bar/Advocates Associations for the past 20 years maintaining one Court-one Bar Association except older associations.

Read Justice Kirubakaran’s order below.