PK Dash, Advocate Vs. Bar Council of Delhi [31-05-2016]

The principle of one Advocate one vote in one Bar, should be introduced for all Bar Associations, irrespective of the multitude of memberships of an advocate in Delhi; secondly the petitioners seek directions for the introduction of the concept of one person one chamber, one court complex only, in the city of Delhi.


IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

CORAM: HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE S. RAVINDRA BHAT HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SIDDHARTH MRIDUL

Pronounced on: 31.05.2016

W.P. (C) 8106/2010, CM APPL.2237/2013 PK DASH, ADVOCATE & ORS. ….. Petitioners versus BAR COUNCIL OF DELHI & ORS. ….. Respondents W.P. (C) 6851/2012, CM APPL.17852, 17853/2012 NARESH KUMAR ….. Petitioner versus BAR COUNCIL OF DELHI AND ORS ….. Respondents W.P.(C) 7549/2012 SATYANAND ….. Petitioner versus BAR COUNCIL OF DELHI AND ORS ….. Respondents W.P.(C) 2689/2014 ANIL KUMAR SINGAL ….. Petitioner versus BAR COUNCIL OF INDIA AND ORS ….. Respondents

Appearance: Mr. Satyanand, petitioner in person in W.P.(C)7549/2012. Mr. Anil Kumar Singal, petitioner in person in W.P.(C)2689/2014. Mr. Sacchin Puri with Mr. Apoorv Tripathi and Ms. Hrishika Pandit, Advs for DHCBA. Mr. Rajiv Khosla, Advocate/President, DHCBA. Mr. Abhijat, Advocate/Hony. Secretary, DHCBA. Mr. I.S. Saroha, Advocate/President, Rohini Court Bar Association. Mr. Vinod Sharma, Advocate/President, Saket Court Bar Association. Mr. Preet Pal Singh with Ms. Priyam Mehta, Advs. for BCI. Mr. Chetan Lokur, for Mr. Viraj R. Datar, Adv. for DHC. Mr. Divya Darshan Sharma, Adv/Hony. Secretary, Delhi Bar Association.

MR. JUSTICE S. RAVINDRA BHAT

“[The advocate] has a duty to the court which is paramount. It is a mistake to suppose that he is the mouthpiece of his client to say what he wants: or his tool to do what he directs. He is none of these things. He owes allegiance to a higher cause. It is the cause of truth and justice. He must not consciously mis-state [sic] the facts. He must not knowingly conceal the truth…He must produce all the relevant authorities, even those that are against him. He must see that his client discloses, if ordered, the relevant documents, even those that are fatal to his case. He must disregard the most specific instructions of his client, if they conflict with his duty to the court. The code which requires a barrister to do all this is not a code of law. It is a code of honour. If he breaks it, he is offending against the rules of the profession and is subject to its discipline.”

(Lord Denning)1

1Rondel v Worsley 1966 (3) WLR 950

1. It is the duty owed by the Bar to the Courts, which is in issue in this common judgment which disposes of four writ petitions that call for a decision of public importance involving the functioning of courts and their orderly conduct. Briefly, all the petitions have a common theme, i.e. that the principle of one Advocate one vote in one Bar, should be introduced for all Bar Associations, irrespective of the multitude of memberships of an advocate in Delhi; secondly the petitioners seek directions for the introduction of the concept of one person one chamber, one court complex only, in the city of Delhi.

2. In WP (C)8106/2010 (described by the Petitioner‟s name, i.e. as “Dash”) the claim is that rules governing allotment of Chambers in various court complexes should be amended to restrict eligibility to one chamber in the entire territory of Delhi, for advocates, regardless of the number of bar associations they are members of (i.e. hereafter called “one advocate, one chamber” principle); the second claim is that each advocate should be allowed only one voting right in regard to a bar association of which he is member, regardless of the number of such associations he chooses to belong to (hereafter referred to as the “one advocate, one vote” principle) and that directions should be issued to mandate that within the city of Delhi, all Bar Associations should hold elections not later than on expiration of two years‟ term. In WP 6851/2012 (hereafter “Naresh Kumar”) too the claim is for a direction to introduce the “one advocate one vote” concept in the bar associations so as to ensure that in any given year, an advocate can vote only once in one bar association, regardless of her or his multiple bar association memberships. In WP(C)7549/2012 (hereafter “Satyanand”) the claim is for directions to inter alia, ensure that only genuine practitioners are members of the bar associations attached to various courts in the city of Delhi, to safeguard that chambers are allotted to genuine practicing advocates and that the transfer of allotted chambers, is prohibited and discontinued. In WP 2689/2014 (hereafter “Anil Sehgal”) the claim is that the Bar Council of Delhi should ensure the introduction of the principle of” One Bar, One Vote” throughout all the Bar Associations in Delhi.

3. It is argued by the Petitioners that Section 6 (1) (d) of the Advocates Act,1961 (hereafter “the Act”) provides that the State Bar Councils are to safeguard the rights, privileges and interest of advocates on its rolls. Section 6 (1) (i), enables the State Bar Councils to perform all other necessary functions for discharging functions provided therein. The petitioners urge that there is an immense need to frame definite rules, policies and guidelines involving the issues of allotment of chambers, tenure of Bar Associations, and the procedure for conducting free and fair elections of the Bar Associations on the principle of “One Bar One Vote”. The Petitioners submit that the issue “One Bar One Vote” is squarely covered by the judgment of the Supreme Court of India, in

Supreme Court Bar Association v. B.D. Kaushik, (2011) 13 SCC 774

which held that court-annexed Bar Associations are different from other societies registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. It is submitted that even in Parliamentary and State Assembly elections, a citizen of India is entitled to cast his vote at an election of Legislative Assembly or an election of MP only in the constituency where his name appears as a voter in the voting list and she cannot claim a right to vote at another place where he or she may be residing because of her or his occupation, service, etc. Thus “One Bar, One Vote” is recognized statutorily for a long time. Therefore, in public interest and the interests of ensuring smooth functioning of courts, it should be mandated through directions.

4. The Petitioners submit that the Supreme Court held that that the “One Bar One Vote” principle or rule is a statutorily recognized principle and it is the duty of the Bar Council to uphold that principle in the spirit of the provisions prescribed under Section 6 (1) (d) of the Act. It is stated that the said decision was re-affirmed in the