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‘Hate campaign’? Delhi bar council chairman RS Chauhan (possibly) axed with purported ‘no confidence’ motion

Caption contest: In the Delhi bar council game of thrones, you either win or you ...
Caption contest: In the Delhi bar council game of thrones, you either win or you ...

The battle for Delhi Bar Council executive posts between chairman RS Chauhan and former vice chairman and currently disputed secretary Vijay Sondhi, has entered a new stage with a “resolution of no confidence” signed by 16 members for Chauhan’s removal, which Chauhan alleges is nothing but a “conspiracy” and a “hate campaign”.

Chauhan rejected the resolution; Sondhi in turn rejected Chauhan’s rejection of the resolution.

The resolution – the eighth in a series of connected resolutions, letters and circulars flying around at the council since 13 May - was, according to Chauhan, “in violation of the rules of the Bar Council of Delhi”.

The resolution signed by 16 members, stated that they “do not have confidence in Mr Ram Singh Chauhan continuing as Chairman of the Bar Council of Delhi” because Chauhan had “not respected the mandate of the house” by allegedly:

  • Ignoring the resolution through which the members had appointed former DBC vice chairman Vijay Sondhi as secretary.
  • Dashing off a suspension letter to Sondhi, on which members had expressed “shock and anguish”.
  • Conducting a workshop in the DBC’s premises without the consent of DBC members.

Chauhan today wrote to the members stating:

“As such, it appears to me that the resolution is nothing but a conspiracy to defame and malign the reputation of the sitting chairman of the council, which has harmed the reputation of the Bar Council of Delhi. Hence, I hereby reject the alleged resolution and the same cannot be taken on record, as it is in violation of the rules of the Bar Council of Delhi in order to maintain the dignity and honour of the Bar Council of Delhi.”

Sondhi wrote a response to Chauhan’s letter and addressed it to the members, stating that “Mr Chauhan has no business to reject the No Confidence motion against him. As the same is in conformity with the Bar Council Rules and is completely legal.”

Chauhan could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press.

The drama so far

The controversy began with a 13 May circular stating that Sondhi had replaced Murari Tiwari as the DBC’s secretary, after which Sondhi had called for a 26 May meeting to reconstitute the DBC’s election committee which could then vote for a new DBC chairman. Sondhi had then told Legally India that Chauhan – the nth chairman of the council in the last two years - was continuing illegally beyond his term and that Chauhan had disputed that his term had expired.

What followed was a string of circulars between warring camps – Chauhan and Tiwari on one side, opposite Sondhi supported by others – purporting to cancel each other’s claims.

On 2 June, this culminated in a suspension letter to Sondhi also bringing into its fold misconduct allegations against Luthra & Luthra where Sondhi is a partner.

Tiwari, Chauhan and Sondhi had each cited various DBC rules, and sometimes the lack thereof, in their defence, with their conflicting interpretations validating their own letters and resolutions and voiding that of the other camp.

In the absence of clearer codification on the DBC’s functioning at present, it is unclear as to who is the chairman and who is the secretary at the council currently.

No confidence resolution (click for full-size)
No confidence resolution (click for full-size)

Bar Council Delhi: Letter Dated by R.S. Chauhan

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