The Allahabad High Court has fixed a new date for holding the Awadh Bar Association elections after the polling held on August 14 was marred by violent and unruly behaviour by certain lawyers.
A Division Bench of Justices Ritu Raj Awasthi and Dinesh Kumar Singh cancelled the election process previously held on August 14 and issued guidelines for conducting the elections afresh on September 25.
Pertinently, the Court held that only the regular practitioners of High Court at Lucknow and members of Awadh Bar will be allowed to participate in the election process.
Importantly, the Court ordered that distribution of visiting cards, lunch packets and holding parties for canvassing votes shall be prohibited and such contestants will be barred from election.
The Court has issued the following directions:
Only the regular practitioner of High Court at Lucknow and member of Awadh Bar will be allowed in the election. Regular practitioner means advocate must have filed 20 cases in a year;
One must have valid certificate of practice, having normal place of practice at the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court;
An advocate must be registered on the High Court roll;
All the dues of Awadh Bar Association must be cleared;
Any member of Awadh Bar Association who has contested the election of any other bar since 2018 shall not be eligible to contest the election;
On the principle of one bar one vote, the executive committee of any other bar shall not be entitled to cast vote;
The Returning Officer should open counters near election place for verifying credentials of voters;
Voter list shall be published within one week and published on website of Awadh Bar Association;
The election shall be held on September 25 and counting shall be held on September 26;
All other bar associations of different tribunal and subordinate courts shall publish the list of members on their respective website;
Distribution of visiting cards, lunch packets, holding parties for canvassing shall be prohibited and such contestants shall be barred from election.
A notice published by the Awadh Bar Association had captured the incidents of August 14 when polling was first held.
"Due to unruly behaviour and ugly display by the candidates and their supporters. Further, not clearing the designated polling areas and influencing the voters and not following COVID19 protocols and instructions of the Returning Officer, it is hereby decided to cancel the polling of votes," read the notice.
On August 16, the High Court had taken suo motu cognizance of the August 14 and registered a case titled 'In Re: Unruly behaviour and breach of protocol during Awadh Bar Association Elections' 2021'.
The Court had then expressed its displeasure over the fact that ballot papers were torn and candidates/supporters pushed and misbehaved with women lawyers.
"One lawyer was seriously injured in the melee and his hand got fractured in the incident. One lawyer suffered heart attack. It is really shocking to hear such incidence happening in the premises of the High Court during its Bar election." the Court had noted in its order passed on August 16.
(Story to be updated)