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Controversy Regarding Chairmanship Of Bar Council Of Madhya Pradesh: High Court Refrains From Interfering With The Order Of BCI

Zeeshan Thomas
14 Jan 2022 4:41 PM GMT
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The High Court of Madhya Pradesh, while hearing a petition on Thursday, refrained from interfering with the proceedings initiated by the Bar Council of India regarding the controversy of Chairmanship of the Bar Council of Madhya Pradesh.

The bench comprising of Chief Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice Purushendra Kumar Kaurav was essentially dealing with a Writ Petition, wherein the Petitioners were seeking a writ of quo warranto and a writ of mandamus with regard to the authority of Respondent No.1 and the proceedings undertaken by him in the capacity of Chairman since 12.12.2021.

The case of the Petitioners is that Petitioner No.1, Dr. V.K. Choudhary is the Chairman and Petitioner No.3, Mr. R.K.S. Saini is the Vice Chairman of the State Bar Council. However, a Resolution was effected by Respondent No.1, Mr. Shailendra Verma to the effect that he is elected as the Chairman of the State Bar Council. The Petition sought for a writ of quo warranto with regard to the authority of Mr. Verma to hold the office of the Chairman of the State Bar Council and for a writ of mandamus to quash the illegal minutes dated 12.12.2021, and to hold that all orders issued, directions taken by him since 12.12.2021 in his purported capacity as Chairman of the State Bar Council of Madhya Pradesh be declared as void ab initio.

The Bar Council of India has taken cognizance of the said dispute under Section 48-A of the Advocates Act, 1961. The apex council, vide its interim order dated 15.12.2021, directed that during the pendency of the revision petition, all the Committees of the Bar Council of Madhya Pradesh functioning before 12.12.2021, shall continue to function. The matter is listed for 26.02.2022. It further directed constitution of a committee "to visit the State Bar Council of Madhya Pradesh in order to find out a solution to the problem with regard to the controversy/dispute relating to the Chairmanship of the State Bar Council."

Senior Advocate Anil Khare, appearing on behalf of Mr. Verma submitted that the since the matter at hand is pending adjudication before the BCI, the court should refrain from proceeding further in the matter. He further noted that it is the Bar Council of India alone that could resolve the said dispute.

The court observed that the present dispute required an interim order and that the same was present in the order of the BCI. With regards to its jurisdiction to entertain the petition, the court noted-

"The objection of the respondents is that this Court has no jurisdiction to interfere when the Bar Council of India is seized of the same. Be that as it may, as to whether this Court has jurisdiction to entertain this petition or not, would be decided later. It would suffice to hold that there is an interim order that has been granted by the Bar Council of India."

Another point of embroilment between the parties was the interpretation of status quo as per the interim order. Understanding the conundrum, the court sought to resolve the same to ensure tranquillity. It held that-

"In view of the fact that the interim order granted by the Bar Council of India is sought to be interpreted in various ways, we clarify the said interim order to the following effect-

(I) That the order dated 15.12.2021 is to the effect that all the Committees of the Bar Council of Madhya Pradesh that were functioning prior to 12.12.2021 shall continue.

(II) The Chairman and Vice Chairman prior to 12.12.2021, namely, the petitioner No.1 and petitioner No.3 respectively, shall continue to act as the Chairman and Vice Chairman until further orders to be passed by the Bar Council of India."

On an ending note, the court hoped that the BCI resolves the dispute as expeditiously as possible. Matter was listed for first week of March, 2022, granting liberty to the Respondents to file counter, if any by then.

Case Title: Dr.Vijay Kumar Choudhary And Others Vs Shailendra Verma And Others

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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