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Bar Council of India polls: Madras HC for barring candidates with political links

The Madras High Court has suggested to the Bar Council of India (BCI) that candidates with political affiliations and criminal background be barred in its elections.

The court has also suggested that the council mandate declaration of assets possessed by aspiring candidates and their family members, with the details of income earned by them as advocates and from other sources in the past 10 years.

“If the above details are furnished, the voters would be in a better position to understand the credentials of the contestants,” Justice N. Kirubakaran said in a recent order.

He made the suggestions in a bid to bring probity in the profession and eliminate ‘criminals’ from the vocation. “Further, this court is of the opinion that candidates involved in criminal cases, where charge sheet is filed and the punishment for the offences of which is more than three years should not be permitted to contest the elections,” the judge said.

“As in the case of election of those candidates facing such serious criminal cases may be detrimental to the disposal of such cases pending against them in a free and fair manner,” he added.

Further, it is advisable that no advocate who held or is holding a key post in a political party or who is or was an elected member of the Legislative Assembly or Parliament should be allowed to contest the elections, he said.

This could be done to avoid any political interference in the legal profession and make the council a playground to achieve their political ambitions, the judge added.

In addition, it is always advisable to verify educational qualifications of the candidates who intend to contest the elections as to whether they have satisfied the Legal Education Rules 2008, he said. In case their law degree is not obtained through regular mode or obtained without satisfying the rules regarding their basic qualifications, their candidature has to be rejected, Justice Kirubakaran added.

He also directed the BCI to place the suggestions before Justice Anil R. Dave committee appointed by the Supreme Court for the purpose.

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