ISLAMABAD            -      On the recommendations of its Judicial and Electoral Reform Committee, Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Friday introduced amendments in the Pakistan Legal Practitioners & Bar Councils Rules, 1976.

According to the statement, the PBC secretary said that the changes have been made for reformation of the process of elections of Bar Councils and Bar Associations.

The amendments in Rule 10-A of the Rules 1976 include “No prospective and/or contesting candidate or his/her supporter/s    shall canvass for votes through advertisement, banners, placards, stickers, panaflex, hoardings, calendars, dairies, key-chains and posters etc,. He /She may, however, solicit support through personal contact and by issuing letters and visiting cards of the maximum size of 3x5 inches on which he/she may also display his/her photograph.”

It adds, “No prospective and/or contesting candidate or his/her supporter/s shall use or show of any kind of weapon during election campaign or on the day of election.” It further says, “No prospective and/or contesting candidate or his/her supporter/s shall canvass for votes by approaching a voter, directly or indirectly, at his/her residence.’

It also includes “No meal/lunch/dinner/breakfast/hi-tea by a contesting candidate or his/her supporter/s will be given to voters directly or indirectly in connection with election campaign.” It shall be the pre-requisite that a contesting candidate is purely a professional practicing Advocate. To meet the requirement being of a professional practicing Advocate, the candidate shall file certified copies of powers of attorney at least of his/her 20 cases per year relating to preceding 3 years, together with certified copies of final decisions/orders/judgments given/passed by the Court concerned at least in his/her 25 cases independently conducted by him/her in the District Courts and 25 cases independently conducted by him/her in the High Court, during the period of his/her practice.”

The Rule 10-B added in the Rules 1976 says; “Any violation of Rule 10-A shall be treated as ‘misconduct’ disqualifying/disentitling the prospective and/or contesting candidate to contest     election for the Bar Council.”

The Council also suggested amendment in Rule 15 i.e. “The Returning Officer shall, for the purpose of conducting the election, appoint such number of Presiding Officers, not below the rank of Additional District and Sessions Judge, as he may consider necessary, for his assistance.”

The PBC substituted the existing clauses (a) & (b) of Rule 175-H, and Rule 175-I & 175-K.