After SC’s strong note, J&K HC sets into motion process to constitute Bar Council

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Dec 7: State High Court has set into motion the process to constitute Bar Council of Jammu and Kashmir by constituting three-Judges panel for framing of rules within the scope of Section 58 of the Advocates Act. The committee has been asked to complete the assigned task as expeditiously as possible and table the report before the Full Court for further necessary action.
Reliable sources told EXCELSIOR that Chief Justice of State High Court, Justice M M Kumar has constituted a committee comprising Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir, Justice Janak Raj Kotwal and Justice Hasnain Massodi to frame rules within the meaning and scope of Section 58 of the Advocates Act in order to constitute the Bar Council of J&K at par with Bar Councils in other States of the country.
Disclosing that this action on the part of State High Court has also been conveyed to the Apex Court of the country through an affidavit sworn by the Registrar General, sources said, “the three-Judges panel has been asked to complete the assigned task within shortest possible time so that further necessary action is initiated to ensure implementation of the direction of the Supreme Court”.
They said that the report of the Committee vis-à-vis rules under Section 58 of Advocates Act would be tabled before the Full Court of J&K High Court and after its nod the same would be forwarded to the Bar Council of India for approval to hold elections to Bar Council of Jammu and Kashmir.
There would be 20 members of the Bar Council to be headed by the Chairman and it would deal with various important aspects including welfare measures and complaints against advocates. Moreover, with the constitution of J&K Bar Council, Advocates of the State would have representation in Bar Council of India, sources said.
The direction for constituting Bar Council of Jammu and Kashmir was passed by a bench of Supreme Court headed by Justice T S Thakur few days back. The Apex Court had also taken strong note of non-holding of elections of the State Bar Council by the State High Court for the last 30 years and termed this as “highly undesirable”. While expressing concern in this regard, the Supreme Court had directed the State High Court to frame rules within the meaning and scope of Section 58 of Advocates Act.
The Advocates Act, 1961 was partially extended to Jammu and Kashmir in 1978 and later all its provisions were fully extended to the State in 1986.
It is pertinent to mention here that a Public Interest Litigation filed by a group of lawyers seeking constitution of State Bar Council is also pending before the State High Court. In the absence of J&K Bar Council, State High Court is exercising the powers of Council with effect from January 31, 1974.
In response to a question, sources said that three-Judges Committee would look into various practical difficulties especially in the light of topography of the State while framing the rules as directed by the Supreme Court. “As the Council would have representation from both Kashmir and Jammu regions, the panel will have to ensure that there is no grievance from any quarter vis-à-vis location of the headquarters of the Bar Council”, they added.
The main functions of the State Bar Council would be to admit persons as advocates on its roll; entertain and determine cases of misconduct against advocates on its roll; safeguard the rights, privileges and interest of advocates; promote and support law reforms; organize legal aid to the poor; sanction financial assistance to organize welfare scheme for the indigent, disabled or other advocates etc.

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