Policy of ‘one Bar, one vote’ & ‘one person, one chamber, one court complex’ to be incorporated in Rules of all Bar Associations across Delhi

Delhi High Court: Disposing of a batch of petitions dealing with a matter of public importance involving the functioning of courts and their orderly conduct, and the duty owed by the Bar to the courts, which variously contended 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;
  • introduction of the concept of “one person one chamber, one court complex”;
  • 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;
  • to frame rules, policies and guidelines involving the issues of allotment of chambers, tenure of

   Bar  Associations and the procedure for free and fair conduct of elections;

the Bench of Ravindra Bhat and Siddharth Mridul, JJ.  by  a common judgment  directed that the principle of “one Bar,  one vote” shall be applicable henceforth in every Bar Association  across  Delhi and also that  “one person , one chamber, one court complex” shall be applicable for allotment of chambers to advocates in all the court complexes  subject to the administrative control of the Delhi High Court.

As to the maintainability of proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution, the Court held that the nature of relief sought is intrinsically connected with public functioning of the court, as the activities of Bar Associations have a predominantly public character and can in many instances, affect court functioning.

The Court held that the rule incorporating the “one Bar, one vote” principle shall stand incorporated forthwith in relation to every Bar Association in Delhi including the Delhi High Court Bar Association, the Delhi Bar Association, the New Delhi Bar Association, the Rohini, Shahdara, Saket and Dwarka Courts Bar Association and all other courts or Tribunals attached Bar Associations. This condition shall be deemed to be incorporated in the conditions of eligibility applicable for voting  as well as candidature for the post of member of any executive body (by whatever name called) and every office bearer of each association (President, Vice-President, General or Honorary Secretary, Assistant, Joint Secretary, Treasurer, Asst. Treasurer, or any other office bearer of each Association (by whatever other name called), immediately and shall be given effect to in every election to each Bar Association hereafter. This condition shall remain in force and bind all Bar Associations as condition for their recognition.

The “one person one chamber, one court complex” rule applicable for allotment of chambers to advocates in all Delhi Court complexes shall be deemed to have been incorporated with immediate effect.

The District Judge concerned of each court complex and the Registrar of the Delhi High Court were directed to ensure that the above conditions are suitably incorporated in the Chamber Allotment Rules, within two weeks and till then, the same are applicable and shall govern all chamber allotments. [P.K. Dash v. Bar Council of Delhi, 2016 SCC OnLine Del 3493, decided on May 31, 2016]

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