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Rajiv Khosla hits back with SC win against Chandhiok ‘scheme’ in DHCBA race

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Former Delhi Bar Association president Rajiv Khosla explained his success in the Supreme Court in his battle against Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) president AS Chandhiok in the now-postponed DHCBA elections.

Chandhiok had allegedly requested an election-day restraint order against Khosla, who after failing in the Delhi high court (SC), succeeded getting the Supreme Court yesterday to stay tomorrow’s 13 December DHCBA polls.

Khosla said: “It has never happened in the history of the bar association that a restraint order is being sought against not only a rival [presidential candidate] but against anybody. Fortunately the Supreme Court came to our rescue.”

Life threats create history

Khosla told Legally India that Chandhiok had yesterday filed an application in Delhi HC Justice Vipin Sanghi’s court seeking a restraint order against Khosla and his associates. Chandhiok had asked that Khosla be restricted from entering the Delhi high court premises on the day of the DHCBA polls this time, and from campaigning through text messages. Legally India and Delhi HC advocates have received phone text messages requesting votes for various candidates, over several weeks now.

“Last time I lost by a narrow margin, so this time I was disqualified as a voter and there was also a restraint order against me on some flimsy grounds. [This is] all a scheme of Chandhiok. He had filed an application in Justice Sanghi’s court that he has been threatened and that his life is in danger.

“The majority in the Supreme Court were supporting me. Mr Ram Jethmalani, Rupinder Suri, Ashok Bhan, Mr Dwivedi were all standing out there. Because you cannot debar a person from elections. Make a person lose, but to deprive him from contesting elections is not done.”

Khosla had also alleged foul play after losing the presidential seat to senior advocate Adish Aggarwala in the Delhi Bar Association 2012-13 elections.

Poll policies

The SC yesterday postponed the polls, which were scheduled for 13 December, after hearing Khosla’s appeal asking for a stay on the amended election rules that disqualified him from contesting or voting in the elections this time.

According to the amendments, bar members who had voted in any other bar association elections in the last five years were not eligible to vote in the DHCBA elections. Office bearers of any other bar associations in the last three years could not contest for DHCBA offices. Also, a presidential candidate must have been a DHCBA member for at least 25 years.

Khosla had argued that the amendments were invalid because the DHCBA’s executive committee had come out with them without calling for the mandatory general body meeting (GBM). While Delhi HC Justice Sanghi had dismissed his petition, an appeal against Sanghi’s decision was admitted by a division bench of the court which after a week remanded the matter back to Sanghi.

However, Khosla chose to approach the Supreme Court at this point.

Yesterday at 2:30pm, the SC’s bench of justices RM Lodha and Kurian Joseph gave an order in favour of Khosla. A copy of the order is still awaited but Khosla confirmed that the SC had stayed the operation of all amendments except the “one bar one vote” rule that disqualifies voters from the DHCBA polls if they have already voted in other bar association elections.

“Not more than 200 or 300 people will be excluded [from the voting list]. Major bar association elections have not yet taken place. Only people who have cast vote in Dwarka, Shardah and BRT will be affected,” commented Khosla.

DHCBA polls 2013-14

According to Khosla, the “One bar one vote” rule is applicable only in respect of other bar association elections that have taken place this year and will not take into account voting over the last five years in various bar associations as was “shockingly” proposed by senior advocate Chandhiok.

He further explained that the court has formed the committee of Ashok Bhan, Arvind Nigam and VP Singh, as reported by Legally India yesterday, “not to look into” the “one bar one vote” proposal but merely to implement it for the polls this time by drawing up a voter list. The court has directed that the “one bar one vote” rule will not be followed in future elections of the DHCBA.

Khosla added that the court has assured an “expeditious” hearing in his suit to decide within one year on the validity of the other amendments brought about by the DHCBA executive committee.

He said that the elections will now be scheduled for any date before the end of February 2014.

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