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BCI cancels Rs 48+ lakh biz class USA trip for 12+ members: ‘India no more a slave. Mind it.’

BCI chairman: 'India is now independent n no more a slave of your Country. Mind it. You have committed an offence by misleading the people of my Country.'
BCI chairman: 'India is now independent n no more a slave of your Country. Mind it. You have committed an offence by misleading the people of my Country.'

The Bar Council of India’s (BCI) proposed delegation of 12 BCI members and “accompanying members” to Washington DC that would have cost more than Rs 48 lakh according to our report on 6 September, is now apparently cancelled.

BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said in an email this morning: “My members are sincere professionals, they didn’t get time to go to Washington DC as our Courts are open.”

We published the BCI’s July 2016 meeting minutes that stated that the council had resolved to book business class flights for 12 members to Washington DC for the International Bar Association’s (IBA) 18 to 23 September 2016 conference.

We estimated at the time, that the voyage would have cost the council more than Rs 48 lakh, not including accommodation, flights for “accompanying members” and other expenses.

Mishra had not responded to an email seeking comment on the 12-member trip of our report at that time, but he responded this morning to a request for comment to a story published on 13 September, on why more than 10 BCI members’ terms had expired without elections in sight.

In today’s email, addressed to Legally India editor Kian Ganz, who is a German national, Mishra added: “Have you ever verified in which class the representatives of Lawyers of your Country travel while going abroad for an air journey of about 15 hours.? India is now independent n no more a slave of your Country. Mind it. You have committed an offence by misleading the people of my Country.”

We are publishing Mishra’s full email shortly, as requested by him in his email.

Update 20:18: Click here to read Mishra's email in full.

The IBA annual membership allows member bar associations to nominate three members to participate in its activities, according to the IBA’s website.

The minutes that carried the resolution to fly the 12 members to Washington DC were not published on the BCI’s website – in contravention of its obligation under the Right to Information (RTI) Act 2000 which requires the council to make such publication on its own. /Legally India/ obtained these minutes through sources.

The BCI continues to be in breach of the RTI law which requires it to publish all its business on its website.

On 7 April 2016 the Central Information Commission (CIC) slammed the BCI in strict terms, threatening maximum penalty on Mishra, for continued breach of the RTI law. CIC commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu told us in June that it is for a complainant to file a contempt case against the BCI for still not following the CIC’s order, in order for theCIC to take further action against the regulator.

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