Advocate Ajayinder Sangwan through advocate Sunil Kumar Mittal, has challenged the Certificate and Place of Practice (Verification) Rules, 2015 issued by Bar Council of India on grounds that they are “unconstitutional and are contrary to the provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961.” [Indian Express]

The petition has objected that has however objected to the rules on grounds that they did not “add anything new” to the already existing process of verification of the electoral rolls, and the rules were being used as an “excuse” to extend the term of the state Bar councils “illegally”.

Bar and Bench reported that other grounds of challenge are:

These Rules have been framed only with the purpose of unauthorized extension of term and tenure of some of the office-bearers of respondent No. 2 and the members of some of the State Bar Councils whose term and tenure has either expired or is likely to expire shortly

Besides being frivolous, these Rules are also inconsistent with the specific provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961 and are thus ultra vires. In any case, the verification of genuineness and correctness of the enrolled Advocates is a continuous process and can always be undertaken by the newly elected State Bar Council, which may be elected in the elections held under the provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961.

Rule 23 and 32 have specifically been challenged for indefinitely extending the tenure of State Bar Council Members and thus being in direct violation to the scheme of the Advocates Act:

When this entire process of preparation of List of non- practicing advocates and identifying fake advocates is linked to the elections of the State Bar Council, the mala fides and the vested interests of some of the office bearers/members of the Respondents are clearly exposed.

Moreover, no time period or outer limit has been prescribed for completion of the verification process under these Rules and as such, an infinite and perpetual extension has been granted to the existing members of all State Bar Councils as well as the members of the Respondent No. 2 to continue to hold their respective offices which is absolutely contrary to law.

23 March 2015download-order

Petition was listed before the Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw, who after hearing the matter issued notice to Bar Council of India and Bar Council of Delhi.

Next date of hearing: 13 April 2015