Monday, December 18, 2023

Make Audit Report of Bihar Bar Council, Bihar State Advocate Welfare Trust Committee online: Ram Jiban Prasad Singh, Candidate, Bihar State Bar Council

The voting for the election of the members of the Bihar State Bar Council (BSBC) will happen on December 20, 2023. The counting will be done on December 27, 2023. There are 157 candidates in the fray for the election of 25 Members of BSBC.

One of the candidates for the election to the 25 members of Bihar State Bar Council, Ram Jiban Prasad Singh (Serial No. 34) has highlighted the following issues as necessary for the protection and welfare of advocates:

1. Enactment of exhaustive Advocate Protection Act, immediately issue Advocate Protection Ordinance. 

2. Payment of Rs.5000-/ honorarium per month for five years for newly enrolled advocates according to Kerala model.

3. Enhancement of death claim and retirement claim to the extent of Rs.15 Lac from 7 Lac given by the Bihar State Advocates Welfare Trust Committee to every practicing advocate ensuring the payment within one month from the date of application. 

4. Providing Rs.25 Crore each year by the Governments in Bihar State Advocate Welfare Pension Scheme Fund for starting payment of pension to eligible Advocates of Bihar. 

5. Appointment of competent advocate in Tribunal, Forum and commission in place of retired judge.

6. Designation of Senior Advocate among the advocates practicing in the Civil Courts and Tribunals etc. 

7. Formation of All India Judicial Service Commission in the light of Article 312 of the Constitution of India.

8. Filling up all vacant post of Judicial Officers immediately and as per Reports of different Law Commissions the number of Judicial Officers for extension to 6500 in Bihar and 75 in Patna High Court. 

9. Formation of Advocate M.L.C Constituencies for the State of Bihar.

10. Arrangement for budgetary allocation of at least Rs. 500-/ Crore every financial year for implementation of welfare schemes for advocates, providing infrastructure for sitting arrangement with Construction of new building, Lady advocates' common hall with all amenities, repairing existing building, equipping them with all modern technological facilities, Libraries with computers, Scanners, video conferencing etc.

11. Supplying the electric in every Bar Association including Advocate Association (Shatabadi) Bhawan, Patna High Court on the cost of the Government.

12. Establishment of Primary Health Centre with MBBS Doctor in Court premises. 

13. Extending the benefits of Ayushman Bharat and insurance scheme for Advocates.

14. On line availability of early Audit Report of the Bihar State Bar Council and the Bihar State Advocate Welfare Trust Committee, Patna.

After scrutiny of nomination papers for the election of 25 members of Bihar State Bar Council, the list of 157 candidates has been released. The provisional approval has been given to the candidates to contest the elections. But after the final decision of the Election Tribunal of BCI, it will be known whether all of them are eligible to contest the elections or not. This time a maximum of 78 lawyers have presented their claim from the High Court. Ramakant Sharma, the chairman of Bihar State Bar Council since May 19, 2021 is in the fray. Its vice-chairman, Dharmnath Prasad Yadav and other members, namely, Manan Kumar Mishra, Yogesh Chandra Verma, Vindhyakeshri Kumar, Prem Kumar Jha, Prem Nath Ojha, Sachidanand Singh, Rajeev Kumar Singh, Sudama Roy, Mohammad Saidullah, Rajeeva Kumar Dwivedi @ Pappu Dubey, Rajiv Sharan are Ranjan Kumar Jha​ are also in the fray. Its other current members are: Sharma Chandreshwar Upadhyay, Ram Charitra Prasad, Dinanath Yadav, Jai Prakash Singh, Arun kumar Pandey, Jitendra Narain Sinha, Sanjeev Kumar, Murari Kumar Himanshu, Pankaj Kumar and Neetu Jha.

Manan Kumar Mishra, the current chairman of Bar Council of India (BCI) has won the BSBC elections on six occasions and have become chairman of BCI for six times. Notably, elections to Bihar State Bar Council (BSBC) were conducted in 2018 although the term of the council had ended in 2015, fresh elections were not held. 38,920 valid votes were cast, out of more than 65,000 advocates eligible for voting in the state. 243 candidates were in the fray in 2018. The election was held after a gap of eight years. Prior to that BSBC elections were held in 2010.

Notably, for the 2023 BSBC election, Justice Chandra Mohan Prasad is the Observer along with some six co-observers, Arvind Ujjwal, Mukesh Kumar, Shambhu Sharan Singh, Manoj Kumar, Dhananjay Kumar, Dwiwedi Surendra (Bar Council of India) for the election. A total of 155 booths have been set up across the State. 

Bihar State Bar Council is a regulatory Body constituted under Section 3, Advocate’s Act, 1961. Section 3 deals with the State Bar Councils. Its sub-section (1) mentions Bihar. It provides for the Bar Council of that State. As per Section 3 (2) (b) in the case of a State Bar Council with an electorate exceeding ten thousand, twenty-five members are elected in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote from amongst advocates on the electoral roll of the State Bar Council. The State Bar Council includes the Advocate-General of the State as its ex officio member. 

The Bihar State Bar Council has framed Election Rules with comprehensive provisions for the purpose of election of the Members to the Bihar State Bar Council. The Rules framed by the State Bar Council are subject to the approval by the Bar Council of India for its operational validity.

The election is held every five years in the State of Bihar to elect 25 Members in accordance with the Rules of proportional representation by means of single transferable votes in which each voter has to cast as much votes as the members to be elected to the Council and the preference given by the voters is counted in accordance with the Rules. 

In the process of counting, elimination of the candidates seeking election is the key. The candidate having got the lowest first preference vote is eliminated and the vote is transferred to the candidate getting second preference vote and so on. Although a candidate may not get quota votes but not eliminated up to 25 the strength of the Council is deemed to be elected. 

The Bihar State Bar Council has framed Rules for the welfare of the Advocates and Model Rules for smooth and peaceful election to the Office Bearer of the Bar Association affiliated to the Bihar State Bar Council. 

The names of the person elected is published in official Gazette and from the date of publication the tenure is of five years. The elected Members from amongst them elect a Chairman, Vice Chairman and delegate member for Bar Council of India. 

The Bar Council also elects and constitute different committees to carry out the function under the Advocates Act and the Rules.

Section 6 (1) of the Advocate Act provides the list of the functions of State Bar Council. The  State Bar Council has 13 functions, which are:

(a) to admit persons as advocates on its roll;
(b) to prepare and maintain such roll;
(c) to entertain and determine cases of misconduct against advocates on its roll;
(d) to safeguard the rights, privileges and interests of advocates on its roll;
(dd) to promote the growth of Bar Associations for the purposes of effective implementation of the welfare schemes referred to in clause (a) of sub-section (2) of this section and clause (a) of sub-section (2) of section 7 which provides for giving financial assistance to organise welfare schemes for indigent, disabled or other advocates;
(e) to promote and support law reform;
(ee) to conduct seminars and organise talks on legal topics by eminent jurists and publish journals and papers of legal interest;
(eee) to organise legal aid to the poor in the prescribed manner;
(f) to manage and invest the funds of the Bar Council;
(g) to provide for the election of its members;
(gg) to visit and inspect Universities in accordance with the directions given under clause (i) of sub-section (1) of section 7 to recognise Universities whose degree in law shall be a qualification for enrolment as an advocate and for that purpose to visit and inspect Universities or cause the State Bar Councils to visit and inspect Universities in accordance with such directions as it may give in this behalf;
(h) to perform all other functions conferred on it by or under this Act;
(i) to do all other things necessary for discharging the aforesaid functions.

Section 6 (2) of the Advocate Act states that a State Bar Council may constitute one or more funds in the prescribed manner for the purpose of—(a) giving financial assistance to organise welfare schemes for the indigent, disabled or other advocates; (b) giving legal aid or advice in accordance with the rules made in this behalf; c) establishing law libraries.

Section 6 (3) of the Advocate Act states that a State Bar Council may receive any grants, donations, gifts or benefactions for all or any of the purposes specified in sub-section (2) which shall be credited to the appropriate fund or funds constituted under that sub-section.

Notably, Section 3 of the Advocates Act provides that "as nearly as possible one-half of such elected members shall, subject to any rules that may be made in this behalf by the Bar Council of India, be persons who have for at least ten years been advocates on a State roll, and in computing the said period of ten years in relation to any such person, there shall be included any period during which the person has been an advocate enrolled under the Indian Bar Councils Act, 1926." The State Bar Council has a a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman elected by the Council.

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