PUNJAB AND HARYANA HIGH COURT, CHANDIGARH
DATE OF DECISION : 11.3.2013
1.CWP No.21529 of 2012
Lekh Raj Sharma and others ...Petitioners
Bar Council of India and others ...Respondents
2.CWP No.3298 of 2013
Ram Avtar Gupta and others ...Petitioners
Bar Council of India and others ...Respondents
CORAM: HON'BLE MR.JUSTICE RAJIV NARAIN RAINA
PRESENT: Mr.Jai Vir Yadav, Advocate for petitioners
Mr.Rahul Rathor, Advocate for respondent no.1
Mr.Sunny Saggar, Advocate for respondent no.2
Mr.H.P.S.Ishar, Advocate, for respondents No.3, 8 & 11
Mr.Bhoop Singh, Advocate for respondents no.5 & 6
Notes: 1.Whether to be referred to the reporters or not?
2.Whether the judgment should be reported in the Digest?CWP Nos.21529 of 2012 & 3298 of 2013 2
RAJIV NARAIN RAINA, J.
After hearing Mr.Jai Vir Yadav and Chaudhary Bhoop Singh, the lead counsel on either side and the other respective learned counsel for the parties at considerable length, a broad consensus has emerged that the sharp differences between the two rival groups which have emerged from amongst the 27 member State Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana (for short “The SBC”) deserves to be given a decent burial.
Therefore, in order to put an end to the litigation, both the writ petitions are disposed of with the following directions:-
i) The elections to the State Bar Council will be held as decided on 31.5.2013 and 1.6.2013. All the orders passed by the Bar Council of India, New Delhi and the State Bar Council during the run up to this litigation would stand nullified insofar as the appointment of Returning Officer is concerned, without expressing any opinion on the merits of those orders/decision;
ii) All decisions taken in the two meetings held separately by both the sides on 8.7.2012 and the meeting held on 18.12.2012 which were subjectCWP Nos.21529 of 2012 & 3298 of 2013 4 matter of hot and acrimonious debate before this Court would stand nullified to the extent of appointment of Returning Officer, without casting any shadow of doubt on any member present or not at the meetings attended by the Hon'ble Members of the Bar Council on the said date. The decisions on other agenda other than relating to appointment of Returning Officer are not touched upon and would stand on their own strength.
iii) This order will not be taken as truncating the life of the present SBC or its members who would remain in office till the newly elected members join. For this effect is given to the order of the BCI extending the life of
SBC for six months as ordered.
iv) All the members of the SBC would cooperate with the Returning Officer in the discharge of his duties assigned by this order and the rules and regulations applicable.
v) Justice N.K.Agrawal (Retd.) has graciously accepted to oversee the conduct of the elections as Returning Officer. The Hon'ble Judge is so appointed by this order to oversee and guide the process of the elections to
the SBC with the help and aid of the entire body of members of the State Bar Council.
vi) Justice N.K.Agrawal would be paid an honorarium of Rs.5.00 lacs by the SBC for his valuable time and presence to steer the election process as Returning Officer till conclusion of the election and to take all steps toward this end as required by law. This honorarium will be paid in two tranches, Rs.3.00 lacs in advance and Rs.2.00 lacs on the conclusion of the election process;
vii) A car with a driver will be put at the disposal of Justice N.K.Agrawal. Petrol expenses will be borne by the SBC;
viii) I have been informed by the learned counsel for the parties that it isCWP Nos.21529 of 2012 & 3298 of 2013 5 necessary to appoint Assistant Returning Officers to assist the Returning Officer in the conduct of elections. Therefore, liberty is granted to Justice N.K.Agrawal to decide as to who would assist him in the discharge of those duties. It will be open to Justice N.K.Agrawal to continue with the existing arrangement or to draw Assistant Returning Officers from the State Election Commissions of Punjab, Haryana and U.T., Chandigarh, or to make any other arrangement in his wisdom including from amongst practicing advocates of this Court as he may trust. In case the second mode is adopted, then a direction is given to the respective State Governments and Chandigarh Administration to act in aid of Justice N.K.Agrawal and appoint their respective nominees to act as Assistant Returning Officer to work under the control and supervision of the Returning Officer;
ix) For a preparatory meeting, it is agreed that the venue will be at the Office of the State Bar Council, Sector 37, Chandigarh;
x) Mr.Jai Vir Yadav, Advocate and Mr. Bhoop Singh, Advocate for the respective parties along with one other Hon'ble Member of the State Bar Council of their choice would meet Justice N.K.Agrawal to apprise him of this Court order and to detail him on the task ahead to enable him to draw up a plan of action consistent with the ultimate objective of holding elections on the two dates already fixed. With the above directions, the two writ petitions are disposed of.
(RAJIV NARAIN RAINA)