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M&G Bar Council polls close; impropriety alleged

The Maharashtra and Goa Bar Council polls closed yesterday (7 January), amid allegations of candidates having used "money, gifts and illegal methods", according to a newspaper report.

Express India reported
that several advocates alleged that candidates did not abide by the rules by advertising in local papers and giving gifts in order to entice voters to support them.

The paper quoted advocate S K Jain saying: "Contrary to the norms of the Bar Council and the Advocates Act, most candidates got expensive pamphlets published making several promises in them.

"On Thursday, one of the advocates even inserted an advertisement carrying his photo in a local daily. Some advocates had given their advertisements to the electronic media. Assurances are being given like politicians during municipal elections. Giving expensive gifts to taluka bar associations and sponsoring vehicles to bring in voters have become a practice."

According to Express India, he also said that parties were thrown to charm voters into supporting them.

SK Jain is the father of ALMT partner Hitesh Jain who is the only law firm candidate running for the states' Bar Council this time around.

One person present at the polls today in Mumbai told Legally India that a large number of Mumbai law firm partners and lawyers attended to vote.

Advocate Harshad Nimbalkar told the paper that over 70 per cent of candidates did not follow election rules.

"This should not have happened but, some of the advocates engage in such malpractices making it appear normal," he said. "Rule 44 of the election rules of Bar Council of Maharashta and Goa say it is illegal to give pamphlets, give written memorandums and promises, but this is being done. We would make all efforts to see that the rules are abided by in letter and in spirit during the next poll."

Sources expect that counting of the results could take at least several weeks, if not months.

Read what it's like to run a campaign for Bar Council victory in a state like Maharashtra for an unconventional candidate. Not giving too much away: it's hard work!

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