After weeks of campaigning and canvassing, the battle for leadership of the Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) elections culminates on September 28. .Tomorrow’s elections would also mark the 60th year of the elections, which were held for the first time in 1962. With the model code of conduct now in place, the fanfare created by the candidates has come to an end, and a lull remains till the winners are announced. .The run up to the polls, as always, witnessed several pledges and promises to persuade potential voters.Incumbent President and Senior Advocate Mohit Mathur, along with Senior Advocates N Hariharan and Ramesh Gupta, as well as Advocate Rajiv Khosla, are pitted in a four-way fight for the top post. Hariharan and Gupta are running for DHCBA President for the first time.Here, they explain what’s on their agenda and why lawyers should vote for them. .Why should lawyers vote for you?.Hariharan: The legal fraternity appears to have made two insular categories - politicians and practitioners. I believe that the insulation of lawyers from their own political process is detrimental for both the profession and its politics. Our politics have to be amenable to fresh faces and ideas, otherwise it spells doom for our institutions. I believe lawyers should vote for me, as I pose a challenge to the prevailing convention of cartelising the electoral system, which becomes averse to any evolution. By encountering fresh faces and ideas from within the Bar, the DHCBA can fulfil its promises of transparency and accountability that sustain any democratic institution. While I'm new to the electoral process as a candidate, I have spent 35 years as a member of the Bar and I believe that it is time for change..What are the issues you would resolve if elected as DHCBA President?.Hariharan: If I am voted President, the new executive committee shall have to democratise its functioning by addressing issues of transparency, regularity and accountability that currently plague the DHCBA. At present, the executive committee has adopted an extremely ad hoc mode of functioning. There is no reliable schedule for elections; the last ones were held three-and-a-half years ago. There are no general body meetings, which divorces the actions of the executive from even the bare minimum of scrutiny. Accounts and major decisions are not presented to the general body; the executive appears to collect and utilise funds without any oversight from the electorate.Further, there are a series of infrastructural challenges that beleaguer our members. These include but are not limited to:1. Access to high-speed internet, a bare necessity in our times for e-filing and virtual appearances. 2. Access to working spaces for our younger members of the Bar. 3. Rationalise the parking situation at the Delhi High Court. 4. Lack of space in the cafeteria for lawyers, seniors and juniors alike. 5. Greater opportunity for young and first generation lawyers in the form of local commissioner appointments, mediation training, legal aid positions. 6. Creation of an academic and scholarly atmosphere for the profession. As one can see, these are changes that require great collaboration with the Delhi High Court administration, members of the bar associations and the necessary civic agencies. For surmounting any of these challenges, the executive helmed by the President must instil a sense of accountability and transparency to the functioning of the DHCBA..Who is your toughest opponent?.Hariharan: My opponents are all equally tough in their own unique way. For me, they all present a similar challenge as they are all adept at contesting elections. They are respected senior counsel and senior members with distinguished standing at the Bar. What's toughest perhaps is that they're all dear friends and colleagues for whom I have the deepest personal respect and affection. My challenge to them is for the sake of the institution..What are the key agendas you are focusing on?.Hariharan: I feel a sense of discomfort with the term 'agenda' as it signifies an element of personal gain. My platform for these elections is one of change, predicated on securing transparency and accountability..Why should lawyers vote for you?.Gupta: The post of President is very important for any bar association. Number one, any voter or group of voters must see the background of the lawyer, or what experience he has so that he can deliver. As far as I am concerned, I have almost 48 years of practice. I have been practicing on district side also, and for the last 13 years, I am a Senior Advocate practicing in the High Court as well as district courts. I have a connect with all the lawyers in Delhi. More than 50% lawyers who are members of the High Court are based at district courts, because they do not have any space in the High Court. I have been Chairman of the Bar Council of Delhi three times. I am a member of the Bar Council since 1998. During the COVID-19 period also, I was Chairman of the Bar Council of Delhi. And everybody knows that in time, almost ₹22 crore was spent on the welfare of the lawyers; for their food; and for other expenses. As soon as I became Chairman, life insurance and medical claim was implemented; almost 24,700 lawyers were covered. Those who died, their families got ₹17 crore, ₹10 lakh each from insurance. Similarly, almost five-and-a-half crore were received in mediclaim. Bar Council also gave ₹5 lakh each to the deceased’s families that were not covered in insurance by Welfare Trust. We arranged for oxygen cylinders, which were provided to each and every lawyer and their families. We were able to get appointed three nodal officers by the government, who helped us in getting in touch with the lawyers or their families. .What are the issues you would resolve if elected as DHCBA President?.Gupta: The Delhi High Court is having 8.2 acres of land. And now, we don't even have an inch which can be used for any purpose, even for parking or even for sitting space. So, I had some homework done. Bapa Nagar, which is attached to the High Court, is almost 23 acres of land. It has only 79 bungalows and attached servant quarters. It is also not in Lutyens zone. Its life is 60 years since it was built in 1962. The government has implemented redevelopment plans in Moti Bagh, Nauroji Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Kidwai Nagar, INA. Yet, there is no redevelopment plan for this Bapa Nagar. I have a feeling that I would be able to persuade the government to acquire this land for Delhi High Court.I think my first and foremost priority would be that the government gives this land to the Delhi High Court so that maybe in a few years, we have the best complex. Other things are very small things. That is for the executive, because senior designated advocates will be there, Vice-President will be there. I will leave other things for them to do - like farewell of judges, reception of the judges, maintenance of so many things. I will devote all of my time only for acquiring the land of Bapa Nagar. .Who is your toughest opponent?.Gupta: You see whosoever is the candidate, tries their best. Therefore, each of the four of us is trying his best. There is a competition between all of us. So I can't say who is the toughest. Everybody strives their best and everybody is, I think, a fine gentleman. I can say that. .What are the key agendas you are focusing on?.Gupta: It is my vision and it is not that easy, but I will prepare a blueprint. There is saying by the government - Modi Hai toh Sab Kuch Sambhav Hai. It's basically when somebody will have to convince the government that you need to have a bigger judicial complex, you can't shift the High Court to some other place. So it (Bapa Nagar) is the only place available nearby, though I think 23 acre is also less, but there's no other option as I can see right now..Incumbent President Mohit Mathur said that a significant part of his tenure was spent fighting COVID-19 and its impact on the legal fraternity. "We did whatever we could to support the lawyers during the pandemic. Relief measures were carried out by us including reimbursement to young lawyers, ambulance service and a massive vaccination drive," he shared. One of the highlights of his tenure, according to him, has been the establishment of creche facility, a long-standing demand of the members of the Bar. "We have opened creche facility and extended the cafeteria area as well. We have done a lot of constructive work and I am sure our members will vote based on the work done by us so far," he added..Advocate Rajiv Khosla did not respond to the questions.