The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre and others on a plea seeking directions to establish the Bar Council in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and J B Pardiwala issued notices to the Ministry of Law and Justice, Bar Council of India and others on a plea filed by a lawyer.
We will issue notice, the bench said. The top court was hearing a plea seeking directions to the Centre and the Bar Council of India (BCI) to establish the Bar Council in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
The plea alleged that failure to provide Bar Council to lawyers from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh is nothing less than step-motherly treatment and discrimination. Petitioner Supriya Pandita, who is a practicing advocate from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, has said in the plea that the entire legal fraternity in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has no government established body where they can get themselves enrolled and take benefits of the Bar Council as compared to other states in the country.
The Advocates Act, 1961, mandates every state should have State Bar Council and therefore, Bar Council for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh cannot be denied by the respondents, said the plea, filed through advocate Om Prakash Parihar. It claimed that due to the non-availability of the State Bar Council, the advocates are even deprived of applying for the proximity cards for appearing before the apex court as no option for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh is provided in the online application.
The advocate members from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh are unable to apply for the proximity card of this court as the application form for the proximity card of this court requires compulsory filing up the details of the State Bar Council, the plea said. It has also sought a direction for issuing proximity cards to advocate members from Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh who wish to avail the benefit of this card issued by the apex court.
The plea said that while hearing another petition in February 2017, the apex court had noted in its order that the BCI, having duly considered the Jammu and Kashmir State Bar Council Rules, has approved the same and it was submitted on behalf of the BCI that the aforesaid rules have since been forwarded for publication in the official gazette. Despite making this statement, the Bar Council of India….has not made any efforts to establish the Jammu and Kashmir State Bar Council, the plea claimed.
It also referred to the Centre’s decision in August 2019 to abrogate provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution which had given special status to Jammu and Kashmir.