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Who won after cold war between Dushyant Dave & the bench was (temporarily) averted at SCBA meeting yesterday? [UPDATE: VIDEO]

SC Registry's letter to SCBA
SC Registry's letter to SCBA

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) yesterday held a meeting to decide about whether to go on a ‘soft’ strike, boycotting future optional and social events with the court’s judges, as suggested by its president Dushyant Dave, though the approach was criticised by other SCBA members including senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, PP Rao and Dave’s arch-rival Adish Aggarwala.

Instead, the meeting was deferred by six weeks after Chief Justice of India (CJI) HL Dattu yesterday ended up constituting an inquiry committee (see letter from Supreme Court registry, left) after he was approached by senior counsel Kapil Sibal and KK Venugopal, which will listen to the SCBA’s grievances that include a lack of suitable infrastructure for lawyers.

When asked about whether he thought it was a positive outcome, Dave commented via email today: “Two points, the senior colleagues Shri Venugopal and Shri Sibal intervened at my personal request. Second constitution of such a high powered committee is a recognition of the existence of just grievances of the SCBA and need to resolve them. It is a pathbreaking development.”

Adish Aggarwala, a former SCBA president who has faced off against Dave in the previous SCBA election, criticised the outcome, terming the formation of such a committee by the apex court as routine: “Me and my supporters have boycotted the meeting [yesterday]. It is really very humiliating for the present executive headed by Mr Dave that they could not meet the CJI and the CJI constituted a grievance committee on the request of other senior advocates who are not elected members of SCBA.

“By appointment of this committee, the CJI is successful in  proving that Dave was wrong in spreading the information that CJI is against the interest of lawyers. It is only the committee of judges who are empowered to deal with the demands of lawyers. After receipt of the letter about the appointment of Committee and acceptance of appointment by the EC of SCBA, it is apparent that Dave was intentionally blaming CJI.”

When asked for a comment on Aggarwala’s remarks, Dave said: “It would be demeaning the office of the president of the SCBA to respond to likes of Shri Aggarwala. If you really want to know the reality you should find out from thousand plus real lawyers in the SC before even giving credence to such people…

“Regrettably, those who never really worked for the bar and its thousands of lawyers and who were therefore defeated are seeking to derive mileage from nothing and using platforms like yours to get importance which they don't deserve. Rest is for you to see, hear and judge.”

Update: Aggarwala, responding to Dave’s comments, said that Dave had won by only 41 votes against Aggarwala in the last election for presidency, with 399 out of 1,450 votes polled, and that Aggarwala had lost to five-time president PH Parekh by only two votes with the “thinnest difference of votes” in the SCBA’s history, and had won 85 per cent and 87 per cent of votes in 1991 and 1992 respectively as executive member of the SCBA, and with “record margin” as a senior executive member in 2008. He said: “I know the rules and the procedure of SCBA. In my letter, i clearly mentioned that Mr Dave is very new to SCBA politics. He don’t know the basic rules of SCBA… You  can get votes by making false promises once but not every time. The voters of SCBA are very intelligent. The candidates can try to befool them but that cannot happen every time. You see that when I boycotted the meeting, how many members attended out of 2000 eligible members who are regular practitioners in Supreme court. Only 125 members attended the meeting on 08.07.2015. This is very humiliating for SCBA that its President is unable to meet CJI or he cant show his face to CJI and that’s why he had to request Mr Kapil Sibal and Mr KK Venugopal to meet CJI. This is his stature. It is not only  me who opposed his style of functioning, other stalwarts like Mr Ram Jethmalani, Mr PP Rao, Mr PH Parekh also opposed. Only an illiterate person or one who has no answer, can say that he will not answer to the points raised by me. I challenge him to contest the forthcoming SCBA election and he will know his fate, one who don’t know how to behave…” Dave declined to comment to Aggarwala’s latest comment.

Update 11 July: The SCBA has uploaded a video of the meeting on YouTube:

The SCBA’s record of yesterday’s meeting stated:

Respected Members are informed that in the General Body Meeting held on today, Wednesday, 8th July, 2015 at 3 pm at Plaza Canteen, Supreme Court Premises the following was decided.

MR. DUSHYANT A. DAVE (SR.), PRESIDENT, SCBA
PRESIDED OVER THE MEETING

The President Mr. Dushyant Dave, in a brief speech gave idea to the General Body as to the reasons and circumstances leading to today’s Meeting and reassured the Hon’ble Members that Executive Committee was only committed to their interests and no one, including the President, was trying to settle personal scores.  Brief idea was given about the needs of the Bar and the efforts made to resolve them.  The President also informed the House that at his suggestion, Shri K.K.Venugopal and Mr. Kapil Sibal, learned Senior Advocates, today met the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, to resolve the issues.  The Hon’ble Chief Justice of India forthwith constituted the Grievance Committee.  In view of this development, the President sought the consensus of the House to defer the Agenda. Accordingly, the House consented as follows:

"The General Body unanimously resolves to defer for six weeks, consideration of the Resolutions mentioned in Agenda dated 03.07.2015, in view of the letter dated 08.07.2015 of the Officiating Secretary General, Mr. M.K. Hanjura informing us that Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India has constituted a Grievance Committee comprising of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Anil R. Dave, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Dipak Misra, Hon’ble Mr. Justice R.F. Nariman and Hon’ble Mr. Justice U.U. Lalit to look into the grievances of the Supreme Court Bar Association.

The House also unanimously resolves to record its appreciation of the President, Mr. Dushyant A. Dave, Sr.Adv.

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