Five advocates including three former presidents of the District Bar Association (DBA) of Chandigarh have filed a petition at the Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking to quash a notification of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana which declared online elections of Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association and all District Bar Associations of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. The matter is scheduled for hearing on Tuesday.
The petition has been filed by Shankar Gupta, Ashok Chauhan, and Sajal Koser, all three former presidents of DBA Chandigarh, and Rajesh Sharma and Deepan Sharma, also members of the DBA.
In the petition filed through the counsels advocate Gaurav Mankotia and advocate Vaibhav Sahni, it has been submitted that the notification of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana declaring online elections of Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association and All District Bar Associations of Punjab and UT Chandigarh to be held on September 30, 2020 and All District Bar Associations of Haryana to be held on October 1, 2020, unilaterally without associating the stake holders and some worthy members of the Council is draconian and completely arbitrary in nature.
It has been further argued in the petition that the notification is unjustified and unfair in the anticipation of fake voting as some private agency has been hired by the Council.
The petitioners have submitted that an online opinion poll on the matter got a lukewarm response from advocates because some were either not equipped with smart phones or not tech-savvy, while some did not even participate. “Barring them, the advocates who chose to vote online were taken by surprise when they encountered numerous glitches in accessing the link sent by the Council. Some advocates who managed to vote online after tremendous struggle were shell shocked to see the five questions which were posed to them. The questions had no relevance with regard to the election framework,” reads the petition.
It has been further submitted that, “numerous advocates/members of District Bar Association have condemned the move of the Bar Council to hold online elections as they are not technically oriented with the online voting procedure and do not consider online voting to be a reliable, authentic and trustworthy mode. Furthermore, this method will snatch their right to franchise which is against Article 21 of the Constitution of India,”
The petitioners have submitted that the Council has shut its eyes to the plight of the lawyers in these unprecedented times.
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