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Chandigarh Bar association elections nullified, new poll ordered in a month

Hans in his election petition, filed before the BCPH, had contended that during elections the guidelines issued by the Bar Council were not properly followed.

Chandigarh |
Updated: August 28, 2021 1:14:42 am
Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana, District Bar Association, chandigarh,, haryana, indian express, indian express news, Punjab newsThe order has been passed by the Election Tribunal of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana (BCPH), over the petition filed by Advocate Neeraj Hans. (File)

The Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana has set aside the entire poll of the District Bar Association of Chandigarh and has ordered the Returning Officer (RO) to hold fresh polls within a period of one month.

The order has been passed by the Election Tribunal of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana (BCPH), over the petition filed by Advocate Neeraj Hans.

Hans in his election petition, filed before the BCPH, had contended that during elections the guidelines issued by the Bar Council were not properly followed and neither membership cards of District Bar Association of Chandigarh nor any other identity proof of voters checked due to which bogus votes were cast. The plea said that the entire election was conducted in an extremely casual, biased and faulty manner. It further stated that during the poll the footfall of voters was not as per \ballots counted and disproportionate to the number of votes cast. The plea also claimed that some advocates and some miscreants had wrongly and mischievously voted in this election by putting multiple ballots in the ballot box and also casting votes multiple times, which was video graphed.

Along with the election petition, the petitioner had placed on record a pen drive with the video of the entire election process of the Bar Association Elections.

Accordingly, the BCPH Election Tribunal directed the Secretary and Superintendent, Malkit Singh and Rajesh Kumar to verify the entire election process and after counting the same they were requested to submit their report.

In the report submitted by Malkit Singh and Rajesh Kumar, it was observed that they have counted 1420 persons to have cast their votes from the videography. Apart from this, during the polling process, the camera was not focused on ballot boxes for 1-2 minutes in different stages. Therefore, they cannot tell or assume that during this period, how many votes were cast and for about 15 minutes there were disturbances during the polling process and the camera was again not focused on the ballot box.

The Election Tribunal of Council, after going through the video of the election process, held, “We find that there was absolutely no system of distribution of ballots. During the casting of votes by voters, no secrecy has been provided and the voters are shown to be coming and going from the same gate and during the peak time there was chaos, which is not the purpose of a democratic system. Further we found that the voters came with ballot papers with them, but we are not shown from where they obtained the same.”

The Tribunal, thus, concluded, “We are of this view that the entire election process adopted during the DBA elections has been vitiated and therefore the entire election process of the office bearers is hereby set aside. The returning officer is directed to hold fresh elections of the DBA, Chandigarh, within a period of one month from today. Till that time, the chairman of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana is to appoint an ad-hoc committee for the day-to-day working of the DBA, Chandigarh.”

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