There is tug of war going on between members of the executive committee of Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA). When association president Rajiv Khosla called a general body meeting on Friday, many prominent members were nowhere to be seen. On full display, however, was a war of text messages between Khosla and association secretary Abhijat Bal, with the entire address book of lawyers in the High Court getting a series of SMSes regarding whether the meeting was valid at all.
At the heart of this tussle lie the upcoming election to the DHCBA executive as well as some key issues concerning the functioning of the bar. All the bad blood did not, however, stop the meeting from passing a slew of resolutions. One of the key resolutions passed at the meeting was to defer the elections, which were expected to be held in April, to December, extending the term of the committee by half a year.
Rajiv Khosla told Newsline that the meeting, as well as the resolutions passed by the lawyers, were valid and the association will make sure these are implemented.
Secretary Bal, on the other hand, insisted that the executive committee had not called the GBM and none of the resolutions passed would have any authority.
The GBM decided to call for video recording of all court proceedings. This issue has been the subject of multiple petitions filed before the court. The judiciary has so far rebuffed all pleas to allow such recordings and persons who are found trying to record court proceedings are hauled up for contempt and face criminal action.
Another issue that is set to create friction between the bar and the bench is that the lawyers’ body raised the question of the “kith and kin of judges” working as local commissioners, mediators and getting other positions on tribunals. The bar has now resolved to ask the Chief Justice to issue orders to put up the names of all persons who are given any commission or mediation case on the court website, so that “all lawyers, and “not just the kith and kin of judges”, may get a chance to be appointed. Stopping short of directly accusing judges of favouritism, Khosla also raised the issue of “transparency” in the judiciary.
The lawyers’ body also rejected the “one bar, one vote” concept, given by the Supreme Court of India last year to facilitate bar elections. Under the rules, lawyers who have voted in the elections of the bar association of any court cannot vote again in the elections at a different district court or the High Court.