Upon a mention made by Sri T.P.Singh, the learned Senior Counsel that the matter is one of the urgency, the Court accepted his request and, therefore, directed the petition to be heard today. The Registry has, accordingly, sent the petition to the Court.
The matter relates to the election of the Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh, which is a body constituted under the Advocates Act which looks after the welfare of the Advocates registered in the State of U.P. The term of the Chairman, respondent no.4 is upto 23.7.2017 and a new Chairman is required to be elected by the members of the Bar Council. For this purpose, on 30.6.2017 an election programme was issued by the Secretary of the Bar Council of U.P., respondent No.5 indicating that the nominations would be given till 12.7.2017 upto 5 p.m. The scrutiny of the nomination papers would be conducted on 13.7.2017 and the nomination papers could be withdrawn till 16.7.2017. The electoral programme further indicated that the election of the Chairman, Vice Chairman and other bodies of the Bar Council would be held by secret ballot paper voting on 16.7.2017 itself if there is more than one candidate.
It transpires that two members of the Bar Council represented the Chairman indicating their inability to attend the meeting on 16.07.2017 and based on their representation, the Chairman has issued an order dated 12.7.2017 adjourning the election that was to be held on 16.7.2017. This order dated 12.07.2017 adjourning the election meeting of 16.07.2017 has been circulated by the Secretary/ Election Officer by his letter dated 12.07.2017 to all the members of the Bar Council.
When the matter was taken up, we directed the learned counsel Sri Ashutosh Dwivedi, appearing for the Bar Council of U.P. and its Chairman to take necessary instructions from the Chairman as well as from the Secretary Bar Council. Sri Ashutosh Dwivedi informed that the Chairman has gone out of station and is presently at Bulandshahar. The learned counsel further submitted that Dr. Ram Jeet Singh Yadav, Secretary/Election Officer has taken leave from 13th to 16th July, 2017 on the pretext of his illness and is not available in the office.
One Superintendent, Sri Brij Mohan, is present in the Court, who states that he is not aware of anything and all that he knows is that the Secretary is not in the office.
In order to ensure as to whether the Chairman or the Secretary or any other competent officer or an employee is available in the Bar Council, the Court directed Sri Ashish Kumar Srivatava, the Registrar (Protocol) to visit the office of the Bar Council and submit a report. The officer went to the Bar Council office and has orally reported that neither the Chairman nor the Secretary are in the office nor there is any competent employee available, who could provide any information.
We had further directed Sri Siddharth Nandan, the learned counsel assisting Sri T.P. Singh, the learned Senior Advocate for the petitioner to send “WhatsApp message” to the Chairman, Sri Anil Pratap Singh and Dr. Ram Jeet Singh Yadav, Secretary/the Election Officer on their mobile requesting them to appear before the Court today. We also find that notices of the petition were duly served to the Chairman as well as to the Election Officer on their mobile by the petitioners as well as on the e-mail address of the Chairman and Secretary of the Bar Council of U.P. In spite of service of notices, respondents no. 4 and 5 have failed to appear or give instructions to their counsel.
Once an election programme has been issued, the election can not be scuttled. In the present case, it is apparently clear that the Chairman, who prima- facie has no authority in law to scuttle the election which is scheduled to be held on 16.07.2017. We also find it strange that the Election Officer, who is under a duty to conduct an election has not issued any order till date for postponing the election. The Election Officer is requested to conduct the election, but we find that the Election Officer has taken leave till 16.07.2017. This leads to an irresistible presumption that he will not be present to conduct the election of the Chairman, Vice Chairman, etc. on 16.7.2017. This clearly indicates the dereliction of duty at his behest. A disastrous situation have arisen whereby the conduct of two persons are making the stakeholders wonder as to what kind of Bar Council they have in the State of U.P. At this stage, Sri Ashutosh Dwivedi, the learned counsel appearing for the Bar Council of U.P. informed that he has spoken to Sri Anil Pratap Singh, the Chairman who has informed that he is presently at Bulandshahar.
We, accordingly, adjourn the matter today. The Court will assemble again and hold the Court tomorrow, i.e., 15.07.2017 (Saturday) at 11.00 AM.
Sri Ashutosh Dwivedi, the learned counsel appearing for the Bar Council of U.P. is directed to intimate Sri Anil Pratap Singh, the Chairman and Dr. Ram Jeet Singh Yadav, Secretary, Bar Council of U.P., respondents no. 4 and 5 to be present in the Court tomorrow when the case is taken up.
In addition to the aforesaid, issue notice to respondents no. 4 and 5 by dasti summons. Steps shall be taken by the petitioners today itself. Copies of the notices shall be served in the office of the Bar Council today itself. Affidavit of service to be filed when the matter is taken up tomorrow.
Let copy of the order be issued to the learned counsel for the parties on payment of usual charges today itself.)