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The other Delhi elections: Rajiv Khosla fights to file DHCBA prez nomination over ‘hell bent’ opponents

Khosla vies for NOTA in presidential field
Khosla vies for NOTA in presidential field

With the courts closed as much of Delhi voted today, the Delhi high court is reconsidering former Delhi Bar Association (DBA) president Rajiv Khosla’s plea against election rule amendments that disqualify him from contesting or voting in the 13 December Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) polls, according to the PTI.

The amended election rules of the DHCBA, notified in September 2013, include the “One Bar One Vote” rule that was also an issue during the controversial Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) elections late last year.

Another bone of contention was the embargo against contesting in DHCBA elections for candidates who have been office bearers in any other bar association for three terms immediately prior to the election. Furthermore, a new rule specified that candidates contesting for DHCBA’s presidency must have already been a DHCBA member for at least 25 years.

Khosla argued before the Delhi HC that the amendments were brought about “secretly” by the DHCBA’s executive committee (EC), without a general body meeting (GBM), which is mandatory to affect amendments to the DHCBA’s constitution.

He claimed that the DHCBA circulated the amendments among DHCBA members for the first time only on 16 September 2013. He also challenged the retrospectivity of the amendments that caught him.

Khosla added that “on account of his being active against the office bearers of [the DHCBA], the present president of [the DHCBA], developed a grudge against [Khosla] and is hell bent not to allow the plaintiff to contest the election to the Hony. posts in [the DHCBA]”, according to the text of a 13 November order.

Delhi HC justice Vipin Sanghi had on 13 November refused to grant an ad interim injunction to Khosla on the ground that he had filed his petition “after the election process has been set into motion”. Sanghi added that “the amended rules were in existence - as they were made a part of the judicial record since January 2013 and, in any event, one of the prominent member and leader of the bar, Mr. Rajiv Khosla became aware of them on 30.08.2013”.

However, Khosla preferred a letters patent appeal against Sanghi’s order and a division bench of justices BD Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru yesterday asked Sanghi to freshly consider his plea.

A Delhi high court practicing advocate told Legally India that while DHCBA members are “not happy” about the current EC having changed the elections rules without calling a GBM, many members also did not want Khosla in power at the DHCBA. “Not many people are standing behind Khosla,” he said but claimed that Khosla still “has enough support amidst the core group to win. Last time he gave Chandhiok a run for his money”.

Khosla lost the 16 December 2011 DHCBA elections to senior advocate AS Chandhiok by a marginal 160 votes, Delhi HC advocate Dushyant K Mahant blogged. Chandhiok, who has been DHCBA president for the last two terms consecutively, cannot contest this time according to election rules 19(a) and (b).

Senior advocates Rakesh Tiku, PV Kapur and Sanjay Jain and advocate DK Sharma are contesting for the post of DHCBA president on 13 December. [Complete list, via the Facebook page of the DHCBA]

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