The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), which has been marred by controversies and an early dissolution in January, finally elected a committee and president as Ram Jethmalani rose to victory today by defeating his rival Raju Ramachandran by 367 votes.
Jethmalani told Legally India immediately after his election: "I am very happy and thankful to the people who voted for me. I will serve the bar to the best of my capabilities."
Jethmalani said that he would announce his priorities for his term shortly.
Sanjay Bansal was elected secretary with 379 votes and P K Jain has been elected as the vice president with 641 votes. Anil Huda has been elected as assistant secretary and K K Mani as treasurer.
A total of 1225 votes were polled out of total 3258 eligible voters in the SCBA.
Jethmalani's election comes after several incumbent contenders decided not to stand for election and helping Jethmalani to be elected by a wide margin this time.
Former SCBA vice president Adish Aggarwala and senior advocate KTS Tulsi had both withdrawn their candidature. Both had made public statements in support of Jethmalani's candidacy.
It is understood that several Supreme Court bar leaders had wanted Jethmalani to be elected unopposed but just two days before the last date of filing the nomination, Ramachandran decided to fight the elections for the post of president.
Former Vice Chairman Adish Aggarwala expressed his happiness with the result, telling Legally India: "Ram Jethmalani had been favoured just to fight corruption and this is the victory of an ordinary lawyer who is looking forward to an independent body which can represent the true interests of lawyers."
Jethmalani has said in the run-up to his election that he would examine a series of controversies surrounding the functioning of the SCBA.
In January of this year the SCBA executive committee had been dissolved after it was found that some members of the bar were inducting lawyers into the SCBA by paying their membership fees in order to create vote banks.
After dissolution of the SCBA, a three-member interim committee comprising of senior advocates K.K Venugopal, P.P. Rao and P.H. Parikh, took over the functioning of the association
In February, the interim board annulled the membership of 1,485 new members voiding their induction into the SCBA in September and December of last year.
Former SCBA secretary Pareena Swarup was accused of confirming the memberships of these lawyers in violation of the norms. The board found evidence of bogus members and sponsored applications aimed at creating vote banks.
A total of 153 advocates' membership fees were paid through the bank account of one associate working with a senior advocate.
Following the annulments, cases were filed in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana which were later stayed after the SCBA approached the apex court. Finally, the Supreme Court stayed all proceedings relating to the election to lawyers body of the apex court pending in various trial courts.