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PH Parekh rejects Jethmalani challenging ‘inadequate’, ‘corrupt’ SCBA elections

The SC yesterday: Supremely political
The SC yesterday: Supremely political
Breaking: Senior advocate and outgoing Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Ram Jethmalani has lodged a written complaint about yesterday’s election alleging it was carried out improperly and marred by “corruption”.

The now five-time winner of the SCBA presidency PH Parekh has rejected Jethmalani’s arguments as motivated by his election loss.

Legally India first reported yesterday that Parekh won the SCBA presidential election by two votes over Adish Aggarwal, and by 22 votes over the incumbent, Jethmalani.

In a letter also dated yesterday (12 May) and addressed to the members of the SCBA election committee, Jethmalani wrote that there had been “corruption” in the run-up to the election and that the “logistic arrangements for conducting the poll on the next day were to say the least extremely inadequate”. (download full letter below story)

In particular he said that the 10 May “announcement of the corruption that had vitiated the election campaign came as a pleasant surprise”. He did not elaborate on the nature of the alleged corruption but added that while he was initially not in favour of the election committee’s resignation and postponement of the election, because the “corruption” had not been disclosed to all voters in “frank disclosure… it would have been better if the elections would have been postponed to some propitious occasion”.

On the logistics he wrote that there were so many voters and inadequate facilities, which required “non-human patience to stand in that furnace of an atmosphere in a suffocating queue”.

The deadline for voting was therefore extended from 4pm to 7pm, which Jethmalani argued was not communicated to all the voters. It appeared that one tenth of voters who had taken the registration slip did not turn out to vote, he claimed, adding that especially senior advocates would have been absent whose vote “could have made a material difference”.

He concluded his two-page letter stating “I suggest that in spite of all your good intention and spirit of accommodation the validity of the election is open to serious challenge.

“I am not sure whether it is within your jurisdiction to do anything now. Do kindly inform me whether you propose to do anything. If not you would kindly indicate that you have no quarrel with the validity of the above objections.”


Parekh, who won with 757 votes told Legally India that Jethmalani himself was present and agreed to the election time being extended beyond 4pm. “If he had any objection, he should have declared any objection then. If he had won he would have been very happy [and] he would have said ‘wonderfully conducted election’.”

“After all, the people who conducted elections are the senior lawyers, one of them is a former judge and [one] an additional solicitor general. To make these allegations now – because of what he’s written in the letter - he should have said before the result was declared,” noted Parekh.

In respect of the Jethmalani’s charges of corruption, Parekh noted that the committee itself was not accused of corruption but that one of the SCBA vice-presidential candidates had complained against another candidate for the same post and the committee said it did not want to get into the issue and would resign.

However both Jethmalani and Parekh argued against this and said that complaints should be considered by the next executive committee. “If they don’t resign, carry on,” said Parekh, “and everyone told them to continue.”

Parekh added that Jethmalani should accept the loss of the presidency gracefully and contest again in next year’s elections.

The referees

Senior advocate Jawahar Lal Gupta, who sat as chairman of the SCBA election committee, told Legally India that the election committee would meet tomorrow morning and would send a reply to Jethmalani.

Download Ram Jethmalani's letter to the SCBA election commission

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