CHENNAI: In an endeavour to restore the glory of the Madras high court advocates association (MHAA), one of the largest in the country, a division bench of the high court has fixed minimum qualifications for those wanting to contest for the posts of office bearers of the association.
Accordingly, a person willing to contest for the post of President of MHAA should be a senior counsel with a regular practice of at least 25 years and have argued 50 cases before the high court each year or 250 cases in the past five years. Similar qualifications have been fixed for other office bearers too.
A division bench of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice R Pongiappan passed the orders in response to a petition by MHAA member, K Sathyabal who raised a series of contentions with regards to the association and its functioning. The petitioner sought for the certificate of practice of the members has to be verified to check whether members are practicing in Madras high court and also contended that there is confusion with regard to membership as whether members are resident or non-residents of Chennai and without ascertaining the same, elections cannot be held.
A E Chellaiah, chairman of the election committee submitted before the bench that they have taken earnest and meticulous efforts, verifying all records to prepare the voter list. In the process, 1000 members have already been eliminated, the chairman informed the court.
In response, the petitioner made it clear that he did not want to defer the elections, but want it to be conducted after verification of all records.
The bench noted that many persons who have not even entered the Madras high court campus are trying to become members and office bearers of the association. “Using this post, they indulge in katta panchayat (kangaroo court), bringing disrepute to the profession as well as the advocate association,” the bench stated and also noted that since there is no qualification fixed for contesting elections, non-practicing advocates and advocates who have not even completed one year in the bar are contesting elections, and surprisingly getting elected too.
Observing these, the division bench passed an order fixing minimum qualifications for various posts of the advocates association.