Plea to establish Bar Council in J&K, Ladakh | SC seeks Centre’s response

Supreme Court of India.
Supreme Court of India. File/ GK

New Delhi, July 29: The Supreme Court Friday sought a response from the Centre and others on a plea seeking directions to establish the Bar Council in J&K and Ladakh.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and J B Pardiwala issued notices to the Ministry of Law and Justice, Bar Council of India, and others on a plea filed by a lawyer.

“We will issue notice,” the bench said.

The apex court was hearing a plea seeking directions to the Centre and the Bar Council of India (BCI) to establish the Bar Council in J&K and Ladakh.

The plea alleged that failure to provide Bar Council to lawyers from J&K and Ladakh was nothing less than step-motherly treatment and discrimination.

Petitioner Supriya Pandita, who is a practicing advocate from J&K and Ladakh, in the plea said that the entire legal fraternity in J&K and Ladakh has no government-established body where they can get themselves enrolled and take benefits of the Bar Council compared to other states in the country.

The Advocates Act, 1961, mandates every state should have a State Bar Council and therefore, the Bar Council for J&K and Ladakh cannot be denied by the respondents, said the plea filed through advocate Om Prakash Parihar.

It said that due to the non-availability of the State Bar Council, the advocates were even deprived of applying for the proximity cards for appearing before the apex court as no option for J&K and Ladakh was provided in the online application.

The advocate members from J&K and Ladakh are unable to apply for the proximity card of this court as the application form for it requires compulsory filing up the details of the State Bar Council, the plea said.

It also sought a direction for issuing proximity cards to advocate members from J&K and Ladakh who wish to avail the benefit of this card issued by the apex court.

The plea said that while hearing another petition in February 2017, the apex court had noted in its order that the BCI, having duly considered the J&K State Bar Council Rules, approved it and that it was submitted on behalf of the BCI that the aforesaid rules had since been forwarded for publication in the official gazette.

Despite making this statement, the Bar Council of India has not made any efforts to establish the J&K State Bar Council, the plea said.

It also referred to the Centre's decision in August 2019 to abrogate provisions of Article 370 of the constitution which had given special status to J&K.

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