Vikash Sharma

In a major decision, the Bar Council of India (BCI) on Saturday issued a stay on the conduct of the Odisha State Bar Council member representative elections to the BCI which was scheduled to be held tomorrow (November 5, 2023).

An order in this regard has been issued by the BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra. The BCI issued the stay over allegations of unethical and unfair practices aimed at influencing the outcome of the elections.

It is pertinent to mention here that the State Bar Council election has already been completed and there is no dispute over it. As per the outcome, 25 members have been elected. Out of the 25 members of the State Bar Council, some representatives are to be elected for the Bar Council of India (BCI) depending on the size of the bar.

“In light of the gravity of these allegations and the need to uphold the integrity of the electoral process, Manan Kumar Mishra has issued an order to stay the Odisha State Bar Council member representative election to the BCI pending a thorough and impartial inquiry into the allegations,” an official notification read.

As per the allegations, cash payments, hotel bookings, inducements such as liquor and other incentives have been utilised to manipulate the voting behaviour of eligible voters.

Official sources said that an impartial inquiry into the allegations will be conducted by a Committee of 3 members, including 2 BCI members and a former High Court judge. The investigation will be completed within a month.

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