The Allahabad High Court has sought the response of the Union of India, the Bar Council of India, and Uttar Pradesh in a Writ Petition challenging the validity of Rule 54 of the Model Constitution of the Bar Association of the State of Uttar Pradesh which prohibits officeholders from seeking re-election for the same office they currently hold in subsequent elections.

The Division Bench of Justice Attau Rahman Masoodi and Justice Om Prakash Shukla ordered, "The model constitution of the Bar Association of State of U.P. seems to have been adopted by the bar association. The petitioner himself is a member of the Awadh Bar Association which is stated to have adopted the said rules. Respondents may file a reply as to the object of the embargo of one year gap as provided under Rule 54. Let a counter affidavit be filed within four weeks, to which rejoinder affidavit, if any, may be filed within two weeks thereafter."

In the Writ Petition filed by Advocate Sanjay Pandey, it is submitted that Rule 54 Framed by the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh due to which the office bearers of the Bar Associations have been declared ineligible to recontest the elections for the same office on which they are working is unreasonable, unjust and improper.

The petitioner emphasizes that while the rules have been formulated by the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh and approved by the Bar Council of India, they do not impose any restriction on the re-contesting of elections by the office bearers of the State Bar Council and Bar Council of India. However, these rules are applicable to Bar Associations.

"As a result, Manan Kumar Mishra has been the Chairman of the Bar Council of Bharat for about 11 years. When we see the situation in the U. P. Bar Council, many members of the council have continued for the past 20-25 years", reads the Writ Petition.

The petitioner further contends that upon examining the situation in other democratic bodies, from Parliament to Panchayat, it becomes evident that there is no prohibition or restriction on individuals holding office from re-contesting elections. It has also been submitted that the main reason for the inability of Bar Associations to retain competent office bearers is the restriction on re-contesting elections.

The Petitioner submits, "That in this view of the matter, it is clear that in no democratic setup, there is a bar for re-contesting of election by the holders of different offices and so the grievance of the petitioner is that why such bar has been created by the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh Rules? The question for the kind consideration of this Hon’ble Court is whether the State Bar Council was right in framing rule 54 and whether The Bar Council of Bharat was right in approving the same. And as to what object the state bar council or Bar Council of Bharat want to achieve by framing Rule 54 and thereby creating a bar on re-contesting of election by the office bearers in continuation?"

The Writ Petition accordingly prays to declare the provisions contained in Rule 54 as ultra-vires to the provisions of the Constitution and Advocates Act and seeks directions on the Respondents to not give effect to Rule 54 of the impugned Rules.

Cause Title: Sanjay Pandey v. Union of Bharat & Ors. [(PIL) No. - 1157 of 2023]

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