Chennai: The Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) has approached the Madras high court, challenging the order of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, whereby the right of practice of 5,970 advocates has been suspended allegedly for non payment of subscription for the Advocates Welfare Fund.
The petition filed by the MHAA by its secretary R.Krishnakumar is likely to come up for hearing tomorrow. On Monday, the MHAA president G.Mohanakrishnan made an mention before Chief Justice V.K.Tahilramani to permit the MHAA to file a petition against the suspension of 5,970 advocates by the BCTP and to hear the matter early.
In his petition, Krishnakumar submitted that this petition was filed challenging the validity of the Notice dated March 22 issued by the BCTP, whereby the right of practice of 5, 970 advocates in any court, Tribunal or other Authority has been suspended in an unreasonable and arbitrary manner. The suspension was ostensibly for non-payment of subscription for the Advocates Welfare Fund under the Bar Council of India Advocates Welfare Scheme. It was stated that the suspension would continue till payment of subscription under Rule 40 of the BCI Rules in terms of Resolution dated March 21, 2019, he added.
He said the BCI Advocates Welfare Scheme envisages a welfare fund to which every advocate enrolled was entitled to become a member by submitting an application and paying an admission fee and subscription. A member who was in arrears for 3 consecutive years shall stand removed from the scheme automatically. As such, membership of the scheme was voluntary subject to payment of subscription. If any advocate either fails to apply to join this scheme or his/her admission was refused or fails to pay subscription, she/he would not be entitled to claim any benefits under the scheme.
If any advocate fails to pay the amount, a committee of 3 members constituted by the state bar council may pass an order of suspension after the secretary issues a show cause notice. However, the impugned order has been passed without adequate notice and without proper reasons. Moreover, the membership of Advocates Welfare Fund was voluntary and non payment of fee or subscription would entail loss of benefits under this scheme. But suspension from practice for such non-payment was antithetical to the nature of scheme, he added and sought to stay the operation of the order....