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Awadh Bar Association elections: Allahabad High Court directs returning officer to file report

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The Allahabad High Court has taken suo motu cognisance of the unruly behaviour of Advocates during the Awadh Bar Association elections, held on August 14.

The Lucknow Division Bench of Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Dinesh Kumar Singh said, “We are very pained to know that election of Awadh Bar Association, scheduled to be held on August 14 in the premises of High Court, was cancelled due to unruly, indecent and undemocratic behaviour and breach of protocol by some of the lawyers, who also indulged in unlawful activities.

“We have been informed that the candidates, along with their supporters, entered into the voting arena and indulged in tearing of ballot papers and in pushing female lawyers and misbehaving with them. One lawyer was seriously injured in the melee and his hand got fractured in the incident. One lawyer suffered a heart attack. It is really shocking to hear such an incident happening in the premises of the High Court during its Bar election.

“We take cognisance of this unruly behaviour of the Advocates during the election process and, as such, call upon Returning Officer V. K. Shahi, to submit his report in this regard. In the report, he may submit video clipping(s) and photograph(s) as well as evidence and material collected, which led to cancellation of the election on August 14, 2021.

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Ashok Nigam, Chairman Elders’ Committee, appeared before the Court. He gave certain suggestions for the elections to be held in future.

“Ashok Nigam, Chairman, Elders’ Committee is requested to give his suggestion(s) in writing by tomorrow. If any member of the Bar Association has any suggestion, he may give it in writing to the Chairman, Elders’ Committee, who may consider it and, if feels proper, may incorporate it in his suggestions”, the Court ordered.

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“We also hereby call upon the Senior Registrar of this Court to submit his report with respect to security and unlawful activities, which had taken place inside the premises of the High Court during the said election.

The Senior Registrar shall allow the Returning Officer to take relevant material from the room, which has been sealed and given under custody of CRPF. The report of the Returning Officer shall be submitted by tomorrow”, the order said.

The Court has fixed the next hearing for the petition on August 18.

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