Supreme Court to hear NPP Petition for Bar Council in J&K, on 30th Jan.

The Supreme Court of India rejected the plea of the Bar Council of India which tried to persuade the Supreme Court to not to press for Bar Council election in J&K. The counsel for the Bar Council of India argued that the law and order situation was not conducive in the state and therefore elections to the Bar Council cannot be held. The Supreme Court did not accept this plea of the Bar Council of India which had already supported the idea for holding election to the Bar Council of J&K. The Bar Council of India has also submitted the draft Constitution of the State Bar Council which had been approved by the Bar Council in its earlier meeting some five months’ back.

The petitioner, Prof.Bhim Singh, Sr. Advocate in the Supreme Court is also a Member of the Bar Council of J&K who had filed the Writ Petition in the Supreme Court in 2013 seeking intervention of the Supreme Court to issue an appropriate order, direction to the Bar Council of India as well as to the Union Govt. to hold elections to the Bar Council of J&K within the meaning and scope of Section 58 of the Advocates Act, 1961. Prof.Bhim Singh said that J&K is the only State in the country which has no Bar Council/elected Bar Council constituted till this day. Prof.Bhim Singh also mentioned in his Writ Petition that J&K is the only State in the country which is devoid of elected Bar Council out of the registered Advocates. Prof.Bhim Singh in his writ petition that J&K is the only State which is not directly governed by the Constitution of India and the High Court of J&K is not the High Court of Judicature. J&K High Court is creation of the Constitution of J&K as Constitution of India is not applicable to the State of J&K. Prof.Bhim Singh said in his Writ Petition that Advocates Act, 1961 was extended to J&K in 1986 but without application of its provision to hold election of the Bar Council of J&K. Prof.Bhim Singh had been arguing strongly that the lawyers’ community of J&K has been kept away from the lawyers’ fraternity in the rest of the country as the lawyers’ community in J&K has not been granted right under Advocates Act, 1961 to elect their Bar Council in the State.

Earlier on 25.08.2015 Supreme Court Division Bench headed by Mr. Justice T.S. Thakur had directed the Bar Council of India to frame rules for the Bar Council of J&K. The Bar Council of J&K drafted rules, regulations and submitted a-67-page Constitution pertaining to Jammu & Kashmir State Bar Council Draft Rules. This State Bar Council draft rules in detail was submitted on 13th of March, 2015 by the Chief Justice of the High Court of J&K in its capacity as the Chairman of the State Bar Council of J&K and High Court of J&K through its Registrar.

Prof.Bhim Singh expressed regrets that the Bar Council of India which was too eager and prompt to support the writ petition to constitute Bar Council in J&K, changed suddenly when the whole matter was readied and the State High Court had supported the plea to hold a Bar Council election involving lawyers fraternity in the process.

The Division Bench of Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar refused to entertain any plea of the Bar Council of India and granted three weeks to the Union of India as well as the Bar Council to make their mind. Prof.Bhim Singh welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court of India to take up the matter at the earliest and issue appropriate direction to the Union of India to allow Bar Council in the State of J&K. Though the process has been delayed by 27 years after promulgation of Advocates Act, 1961 in the State of J&K.