Constitute bench to resolve SCBA stalemate, lawyers requests CJI after Dushyant Dave resigns as body's president

The senior lawyer said all the three members of the the election committee resigned on Friday night as the SCBA refused to accept its decision to hold elections through online mode

Press Trust of India January 16, 2021 18:46:42 IST
Constitute bench to resolve SCBA stalemate, lawyers requests CJI after Dushyant Dave resigns as body's president

File image of the Supreme Court of India. Reuters

Former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and senior advocate Vikas Singh on Saturday requested Chief Justice S A Bobde to constitute a bench to resolve the election stalemate of the professional body of lawyers.

He said Dushyant Dave, who resigned from the post of SCBA president on Thursday, was to constitute the election committee in the first week of November last year as the term of the executive committee was ending on 13 December.

"He delayed the decision by a month. Even after deciding on 4 December, he delayed communicating to the election committee by another week. When the EC had already decided to conduct the election virtually, there was no occasion for him to call an EC to ratify the election committee decision of appointing L," Singh said in a letter to the Registrar General of the Supreme Court.

"If a hybrid mode (of election) was what they wanted, they should have decided on 4 December. Now asking the election committee to defer the election to third week of February is again an attempt by Dave to prolong his tenure till then creating a drama of resignation and then making the EC to reject his decision to resign," the letter stated.

The senior lawyer said all the three members of the the election committee resigned on Friday night as the SCBA refused to accept its decision to hold elections through L, a digital firm.

"The decision to hold election virtually through L was already approved by the SCBA and hence the refusal to pay amounts to defying the decision of the election committee," Singh said.

Lawyer Ashok Arora, who was removed from the post of SCBA secretary in the executive committee, criticised Dave and alleged that he holds the dubious distinction of having led the most corrupt executive committee in the history of Supreme Court bar association.

"In fact, he corrupted almost 15 of them to perpetuate his dictatorship. Kailsh Vasdev, another corrupt man, continued from where Dave left and unscrupulously tried to prolong his term and interfere in the process of election for which the schedule had already been given by the election committee.

"The election committee, instead of resigning, should have warned them not to interfere and should have directed them to stop functioning as EC members. High time the saner elements in the EC should resign and request the election committee to act as interim management board," Arora said.

In a joint letter to SCBA Acting Secretary Rohit Pandey, the election committee members said they had decided to hold the election on a digital platform and entered into discussions withL, a digital firm, to conduct the polls.

The letter stated that the draft agreement entered withL and the estimated cost of expenses for holding the polls digitally was sent to the executive committee of the SCBA on 14 January.

"We have received a resolution, taking certain decisions, passed by the executive committee on 14 January. We consider these events as a ''REFUSAL'' by the executive committee of the SCBA to carry out our directions which in terms of Rule 17A of the Rules of the SCBA are final and binding," panel members stated.

They further said it was not possible for them to continue to discharge their duties as members of the panel to hold elections.

The Executive Committee of SCBA on 4 December last year had decided to constitute the election committee headed by senior advocate Jaideep Gupta to hold the polls in the second week of January.

Some of the bar association leaders were opposed to virtual election and want a hybrid system where lawyers are allowed to cast votes through physical and virtual modes both.

SCBA president Dushyant Dave had resigned from his post with immediate effect on Thursday saying he has forfeited his right to continue.

The SCBA holds elections annually for selecting its members to the executive committee.

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