DHCBA rift widens, commotion in High Court as strike enters third day

DHCBA rift widens, commotion in High Court as strike enters third day

Smrithi Suresh

The ugly side of Bar politics was on full display at the Delhi High Court today.

After the Delhi High Court Bar Association suspended its own President Rajeev Khosla yesterday,  there is possibility that association’s Secretary Abhijat,  has also met a similar fate.

The resolution to suspend Khosla had been signed by Abhijat, who spoke to Bar & Bench while commenting on how Khosla ‘had no locus to suspend anybody due to the Executive Committee’s decision to suspend him’. He also said,

“We want the Government to pass the Commercial Courts Bill along with the Delhi High Court (Amendment) Bill so that suits that are valued above Rs 1 Crore will stay in the High Court. Mr. Arun Jaitley had also promised us that both the Bills will be passed together…

…When the Executive Committee took the call to abstain from work for two days, everything was fine and there was complete consensus among everyone until Rajeev Khosla circulated an SMS yesterday saying that we were bringing difficulty to clients and disrepute to the institution. He merely acted as an agent of the District Bar Associations and tried to pull a publicity stunt. The Executive Committee in a unanimous decision of 13:2 decided to issue a show cause notice against Khosla for his stunt and in the meanwhile, suspend Khosla’s membership.”

Commenting on the ruckus that was created by a group of lawyers seen to be supporting Khosla he said,

“Today morning when I reached the court premises a group of goons, who smelled of alcohol, wore jackets and pretending to be lawyers, roughed me and manhandled me in the parking lot. Due to some young advocates who saved me in the nick of time, I escaped…

….These goons were also abusing some lady advocates with the filthiest of words and later, hijacked our message handle to send out messages saying that the EC had decided to suspend me today. The Committee proposes to meet tomorrow morning and take a call on the strike and whether we plan to extend it.”

There were scenes of commotion witnessed in the foyer of the Court’s main building. At ten-thirty in the morning, two factions of the Bar were seen jostling towards each other, in loud voices and with absolute ignorance to the spectacle they were creating.

It appears that lawyers from the district courts had come to the High Court in support of Khosla, and to condemn his suspension. Due to his own trial court background, Khosla is often regarded as “pro-trial court advocates”. While speaking to Bar & Bench previously, Khosla had condemned the strike over increase in pecuniary jurisdiction, and said the strike would cause “utmost inconvenience to litigants.”

The two groups were later seen in the court canteen, trying to talk over the issue during which the place was closed of to others. The call for “total abstention of work” by the DHCBA continued for today and lawyers were being physically restrained from entering the court corridors.

Due to this brouhaha, most courts saw proxy counsel seeking, and being granted, adjournments. The Division Bench of Justices BD Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva will now hear the Red FM auctions dispute tomorrow.

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