women reservation in SCBA

Supreme Court: In a matter concerning the Supreme Court Bar Association SCBA’) elections, the division bench of Surya Kant and KV Viswanathan, JJ. viewed that notwithstanding any resolution passed by the Special General Body of SCBA, some of the posts in the Executive Committee must be reserved for women members of the Bar. Thus, the Court directed that before including for the ensuing election there shall be reservation for women members of the Bar.

The Court took note of the report of the Observer Committee and noted that all the eight resolutions put up before the Supreme Court Bar Association, Special General Body Meeting held on 30-04-2024 have failed for want of 2/3rd majority of the members present and voted. The Court also took note of the recommendations of the resolutions.

The Court viewed that the SCBA is a premier institution and is an integral part of the highest judicial forum of the country. The norms, eligibility conditions, membership, membership fee structure etc., cannot remain static for decades and timely reforms to meet with the challenges that may confront the institution from time to time, are required to be carried out. However, such reforms must be introduced after due consideration of the suggestions from the Bar members.

The Court directed the Executive Committee of the SCBA to invite suggestions from all the members of the Bar through a public notice on its website, to be invited by 19-07-2024 in digital form or through hard copy.

The Court said that some of the suggestions which have already been brought by senior members/members of the Bar will also taken as part of those suggestions.

The Court also directed the Executive Committee to compile all the suggestions received from members of the Bar and place it on record.

The Court proposed to give a time bound audience to some of the members of the Bar in their representative capacity before taking a final call on the suggestions that may be received.

Further, the Bench viewed that notwithstanding any resolution passed by the Special General Body of SCBA, some of the posts in the Executive Committee must be reserved for women members of the Bar. Thus, the Court directed that before including for the ensuing election there shall be reservation for women members of the Bar to the following effect:

  • Minimum of 1/3rd seats in the Executive Committee i.e., 3 out of 9.

  • Minimum 1/3rd out of the Senior Executive Members i.e., 2 out of 6.

  • At least one post of the Office Bearer shall be reserved for women candidate exclusively by turn and on rotation basis.

  • In the ensuing election for 2024-2025, the post of Treasurer of the Executive Committee is reserved for women.

After considering the suggestions and modalities for conducting the election of the Executive Committee of the SCBA, the Court directed the following:

  • The election of the officer bearers of the SCBA and the Executive Committee shall be held on 16-05-2024.

  • The election shall be held based on the voter list as finalized in the election for 2023.

  • Apart from those under the voters list for 2023, all those members who have become eligible between 01-03-2023 to 29-02-2024 would also be entitled to be included in the voters list.

The Court also directed the Registry to make available the following, on or before 03-05-2024:

  • Data of entry of Proximity Card of SCBA Members between 01-01-2023 to 31-12-2023

  • Updated List of Chambers Allottee.

  • Updated List of Chambers Waiting.

  • Updated List of Amicus Curiae.

  • Updated List of Mediation Panel of SCBA Members.

The Court directed that the counting of votes will commence on 18-05-2024, and the result will be declared on 19-05-2024.

Moreover, the Court directed that the Election Committee will comprise of:

  • Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta

  • Senior Advocate Rana Mukherjee

  • Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora

The Court gave liberty to the Election Committee to co-opt volunteers for conducting free and fair elections. Further, the Bench said that the decision of the Election Committee will be final on all aspects, including on the aspect of the eligibility for inclusion in the voters list.

The matter will next be taken up on 15-07-2024.

[Supreme Court Bar Association v. B.D. Kaushik, 2024 SCC OnLine SC 756, Order dated 02-05-2024]


Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Parties: Dr. Adish C. Aggarwala Sr. Adv, Sukumar Pattjoshi Sr. Adv., Arijit Prasad Sr. Adv., Dinesh Kumar Goswami Sr. Adv., Narender Hooda Sr. Adv., S. Wasim Ahmed Qadri Sr. Adv., Pratap Venugopal Sr. Adv., Meenesh Kumar Dubey Adv., Yugandhara Pawar Jha Adv., Amrendra Kumar Singh Adv., Vibhu Shanker Mishra Adv. Kumar Gaurav Adv., Shashank Shekhar Adv., Vikas Gupta Adv., Chanchal Kumar Ganguli Adv., Manish Goswami Adv., Anil C. Nishani Adv., Upendra Mishra Adv., Vikas Singh Sr. Adv., Deepika Kalia Adv., Nitin Saluja AOR., Keshav Khandelwal Adv., Vasudha Singh Adv., Kumud Lata Das AOR., Aman Anand Adv., Savitri Pandey Adv., Indu Kaul Adv., Reepak Kansal Adv., Pooja Rathore Adv., Rubina Jawed Adv., Akanksha Kohli Adv., Milind Kumar AOR., Shivaji M. Jadhav AOR., Yugandhara Pawar Jha AOR., Parmanand Pandey AOR., Birendra Kumar Choudhary Adv., Arun Kumar Adv., Utkarsh Pandey Adv., Karan Kaushik Adv., Pareena Swarup Adv., Dinesh Kumar Garg AOR., Dhananjay Garg Adv., Abhishek Garg Adv., D.K. Garg Adv., Ishaan Tiwari Adv., R.P. Bansal Adv., Chanakya Gupta Adv., Chaudhary Shamshuddin Khan Adv., Dr. B.P. Nilaratna Adv., Ujjawal Gaur Adv., Rishabh Sahu Adv., Hema Sahu Adv., Rajendra Sahu Adv., K.R. Chitra Adv., Vivek Sharma Adv., Priya Hingorani Sr. Adv., Naseem Ahmed Adv.

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