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Bar Council of India’s new rules violate Article 19: Petition in Kerala High Court

Bar Council of India’s new rules violate Article 19: Petition in Kerala High Court

In the case of Rajesh Vijayan v. Bar Council of India, the petitioner, a member of the Kerala Bar Council, sought a declaration from the Hon’ble High Court of Kerala that the recently incorporated Sections V and V-A of chapter II of part VI of the Bar Council of India rules are unconstitutional and violative of Articles 14,19(1)(a), and 21.

The aforementioned sections declares that decisions of any State Bar Council or Bar Council of India shall not be criticized or attacked by any members of Bar Council in public domain.

The writ petition was filed, challenging these rules on the following fronts:

1. The section V of Chapter II of Bar Council of India rules prohibits criticism and dissent, compelling us to accept all decisions taken by the Council.

2. The rules infringes the constitutionally protected Freedom of Speech and Expression, as it expressly condemns any sort of dissent or criticism.

3. The said notification was not approved by the CJI thus, violating Section 49(1) of the Advocates Act. The Bar has not come up clear on prior approval of CJI, therefore the rules are vague and perhaps can be misused.

4. With uncertainty looming over the implementation of Section V which is likely to jeopardize free speech and expression, has the potential to clamp down on dissenting members of the Bar council.

Accordingly the petitioner prayed an issuance of a writ of mandamus declaring the above mentioned Sections unconstitutional. Also, an interim relief was sought to stay the operation of these provisions, restraining the respondent from taking any untoward action till the disposal of this writ petition.

By Shashank(Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University)

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