The Allahabad High Court has banned the candidates and their supporters from putting up posters, banners or any kind of publicity material in or outside the premises during the elections for Advocates Bar Associations of all the district courts of the entire state including the High Court.
The Division Bench of Justice Mahesh Chandra Tripathi and Justice Prashant Kumar passed this order while hearing a petition filed by Amit Kumar Nigam and another.
The petition has been filed for a direction commanding the respondents to conduct the election of the Executive Committee of District Bar Association, Allahabad for the year 2023-24 as per the bye-laws of the Association with assistance of Elders Committee.
Further prayer is made to appoint an Observer for free and fair election during the pendency of the petition.
The matter was listed on 01.11.2023 and on the said date, it was informed that on account of chaos and nuisance created by some faction of advocates, the free and fair election could not be ensured.
On the said date, in spite of adequate police protection, even the City Magistrate, who was also present in response to our previous order, could not stop the nuisance created by the Advocates.
On November 20, when the matter was taken up, all the Senior Advocates proposed and gave the names of Senior Advocates of the District Bar Association so that the Court may appoint the Elders Committee.
In the Court previous orders, it had given leave to the Elders Committee to hold the free and fair election of the District Bar Association, Allahabad and accordingly, the City Magistrate, Prayagraj was also nominated as an Observer to oversee the election, which was scheduled to take place on 27.10.2023. The entire exercise was held to be a futile exercise as on the said date, the free and fair election could not be ensured.
Accordingly, it is also submitted that three Senior Advocates may be entrusted for ensuring the free and fair election of the District Bar Association to be held under their able guidance.
The Court proposed to appoint RK Ojha, Senior Advocate, Amarendra Nath Singh, Senior Advocate and Bharat Pratap Singh, Advocate as Observers for holding free and fair election under their able guidance, which has also been voluntarily accepted by the counsel, who represents the parties.
Accordingly, the Court appointed R.K Ojha, Senior Advocate, Amarendra Nath Singh, Senior Advocate and Bharat Pratap Singh, Advocate as Observers for holding free and fair elections.
The Court further asked counsel for the parties to apprise the tentative date for holding the election and they suggest that the election may be ensured on 29.11.2023. Accordingly, the Court directed that the election of the District Bar Association is to take place on 29.11.2023.
It is also informed to the High Court that Rules of the District Bar Association, Prayagraj 2023 has also been framed by the District Bar Association, Prayagraj, wherein detailed procedure has been provided. Much emphasis has been placed that the contesting Advocates may be restrained not to use banners, posters or wall writings or any kind of allurement directly or indirectly such as dinner, get-together etc and the same may be strictly prohibited, which may also amount to an act of corrupt practices.
Accordingly, the Court directed that the candidates and their supporters have to follow the following directions:-
“(A) No candidate or his supporter shall fix/paste any Poster, Hand-Bills, Photographs or other election materials within the High Court Premises including the Civil Court, Allahabad (Prayagraj) and all other Courts in U.P or anywhere in the city.
(B) No candidate or his supporters shall take out any procession in the corridors of the Court or premises, no slogans or loud voices for the purposes of canvassing shall be permitted, so as to disturb the functioning of the Court.
(C) Use of objectionable language and any obstruction in the election process by any candidate or member of the Bar will not be permitted.
(D) It is expected that all the candidates or their supporters refrain from lunch, dinner etc. or any kind of parties in public places for any reason whatsoever so as to maintain the dignity and profession till the election of the respective Bar Association is over.
(E) No candidate shall be permitted to disturb the functioning of the Courts in any manner whatsoever during the course of canvassing.
(F) No candidate shall be permitted to use electronic or other instruments for canvassing or soliciting voters within the court premises.
(G) Banners, Cutouts and Posters anywhere within the court premises in U.P or outside the court premises shall not be permitted and the candidates shall voluntarily remove such publicity material within a week.
(H) Any violation of the conduct rules the advocate involved shall be tried by the State Bar Council and also for contempt of court.
(I) Only the advocates, who bear the COP Card/Bar Association Membership Card/Bar Council Identity card, would be permitted to enter into the campus on the date of election.”
“The entire election proceedings must be ensured under CCTV Camera. The outgoing Elders Committee, who is represented by Vikrant Pandey, Advocate has also assured that full cooperation would be extended to the newly constituted Elders Committee including the release of necessary funds for conducting the election. It is further directed that the outgoing office bearers are restrained forthwith not to enter in the ongoing election process or to continue with the office and the post, which they had held.
The aforementioned Elders Committee will start functioning from tomorrow onward for ensuring smooth and fair elections.
The Commissioner, Prayagraj Division, Prayagraj is further directed for ensuring the necessary deployment of force for avoiding any untoward incident during the election”, the Court ordered.
The Court has fixed the next hearing of the petition on November 30, 2023.