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regular-article-logo Monday, 24 June 2024

Dave resigns as Supreme Court Bar Association chief

Until a new executive body is formed, the outgoing office-bearers — whose term ended on December 20 — would continue in their posts

R. Balaji New Delhi Published 15.01.21, 01:31 AM
Dave had initiated the process for virtual elections but many in the association insisted that the exercise be held physically to avoid rigging.

Dave had initiated the process for virtual elections but many in the association insisted that the exercise be held physically to avoid rigging. File picture

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave on Thursday resigned as president of the Supreme Court Bar Association amid differences over his decision to conduct the body’s annual elections virtually on January 29.

Until a new executive body is formed, the outgoing office-bearers — whose term ended on December 20 — would continue in their posts.

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Dave had initiated the process for virtual elections but many in the association insisted that the exercise be held physically to avoid rigging.

Dave, considered a stormy petrel, is widely respected and feared by members of the Bar for his outspokenness, which often brings him into conflict with people holding contrary ideological positions.

He had last year triggered a spat with some association members and the Bar Council of India (BCI) by criticising a then serving apex court judge, Justice Arun Mishra, for effusively praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a conference of international jurists.

“Following recent events, I feel that I have forfeited my right to continue as your leader and so I hereby tender my resignation from the post of the president of the SCBA with immediate effect,” Dave wrote to the executive committee of the association on Thursday.

He said he had “sincerely decided to hold (a) virtual election” but “now I find it may not be possible to hold them as per the schedule declared by the election committee due to reservations held by some of you”.

“I understand their position and have no quarrel with it but to me any further continuation as the president in these circumstances will be morally wrong.”

The election committee had decided to conduct the election to the executive committee on January 29. Nominations were to be filed by January 18.

Now the election looks likely to be postponed indefinitely though there’s no official word from the 2,000-strong association.

Dave had endeared himself to many in the Bar last year by contributing Rs 1 crore out of his own pocket towards a Covid relief fund for lawyers.

He, however, sparked controversy by issuing a resolution on behalf of the association saying Justice Mishra’s praise of the Prime Minister was unbecoming of the judiciary.

He had said that people’s confidence in the independence of the judiciary would get eroded if judges were seen to be close to people in high places.

Association secretary Ashok Arora later disowned the resolution. Arora convened an emergent meeting on May 11 last year, ostensibly to remove Dave as president for pursuing a “political agenda”, but was himself removed from his post by the Dave faction.

Regulatory body BCI intervened on Arora’s behalf but was told by the association that it had no jurisdiction to interfere in the matter. Arora is waging his own legal battle against his removal in the Supreme Court.

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