THE BOMBAY High Court has held that the elections of Thane District Court Bar Association (TDCBA) shall be held according to the principle of ‘One Bar, One Vote’. It also directed that the December 10 elections be rescheduled.
On Friday, a Division Bench of Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice Sarang V Kotwal observed that a bar association member casting his vote in the TDCBA elections will be required to furnish a declaration that he will only vote in the said elections. The declaration will be in effect for two years.
“Such a member shall not cast his vote in any other election of any other bar association during the period for which such declaration is valid,” the court added.
Directing that the elections be rescheduled, the bench said: “…we find that polling on 10/12/2018 as scheduled, is not possible. Elections need to be conducted in cordial atmosphere and in adherence to the principle of ‘One Bar, One Vote’. Hence, it is in the interest of bar association that the elections are rescheduled at an earliest possible opportunity.”
While noting that TDCBA has not filed any reply to explain the prevailing situation, the court noted: “Advocates who are practising in other courts and are members of other bar associations as well as of the respondent no.1 (TDCBA), will have to make a choice for casting their vote.”
The HC was hearing a petition filed by four lawyers practising in the Thane district and sessions court, seeking directions to conduct TDCBA elections for 2018-2020 according to the principle of ‘One Bar, One Vote’. The petitioners are members of the TDCBA.
The petitioners told the court that several lawyers practising in the vicinity of Thane and were also members of bar associations, other than the TDCBA. Many among them were made members of the TDCBA by the contesting candidates, with the sole intention of creating a vote bank for the elections, they claimed.
The petitioners maintained that if the principle of ‘One Bar, One Vote’ is not followed, it would lead to a situation where the office-bearers of a bar association could include those regularly practising elsewhere and their loyalty would be a suspect in the event of bar associations holding conflicting positions on a subject.