By Ssangeeta Sharma
Keeping in spirit of the democratic set-up of the country, it is not only the lawyers’ body that goes to the polls but the bar association’s employees also elect their representatives. It is not only the lawyers of the Supreme Court that choose their leader but their employees hold elections too for a fair representation.
A body of 72 members of the Supreme Court Bar Employees’ Welfare Association (SCBEWA) will go to polls on February 5. The election was scheduled for February 6 but was brought forward due to the Kisan Andolan, said Anil Bhatti, former vice president of the SCBEWA. He is also contesting for the same post this year.
The lawyers’ association of the Apex Court, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), has more than 15,000 lawyers as its members which include designated Senior Advocates, Advocates-on-Record, and other advocates. The SCBA elects its executive committee every year. Every court in our country has its own Bar Association, which performs various functions for the welfare of its members. The Elected body of the SCBA plays a very important role in the country. Since it is the association of lawyers of the topmost court of the country, the responsibility of its executive committee is very high. The EC has to work in tandem with the topmost judges of the country to have a smooth justice delivery system.
Since SCBA has the largest number of members, it needs ample staff to handle the day-to-day chores. The SCBA among many other responsibilities takes care of the various rooms and centres allotted to the lawyers. The SCBA, besides having its administrative office, has to take care of four libraries, one arbitration room, four consultation rooms, one computer room, and one computer research room among other chores. There are five parking places that SCBA maintains. To handle a plethora of activities the SCBA presently has 72 employees. These employees have formed an association known as Supreme Court Bar Employees Welfare Association (SCBEWA).
The SCBEWA takes care of its members so that no employee is underpaid or exploited. SCBEWA holds its election every year. Due to Covid-19, the elections were delayed for a few months but now it will be conducted tomorrow.
Senior librarian R.K. Gupta, K.L. Sharma and Manga Ratnam have been appointed presiding officers, who will see to it that the election is conducted smoothly.
Babulal Geenwal and Dhiraj Chandra are in the fray for the President’s post. Anil Bhatti and Hukam Singh are contesting for the Vice-President’s post. Gulshan Manchanda and Sanjay Chouhan are contesting for the post of Secretary. For the post of treasurer, Chet Ram Pal and Chandra Bhan are in the fray. Praveen Kumar, Sunil Kumar, Amit Kumar are contesting for the post of executive committee member.
The election will be conducted at the Supreme Court premises in physical mode. Bhatti said three rooms have been short-listed for the voting, and is hopeful that they will be permitted to use room no 17, the arbitration room, which is the best choice. The election will be organized from 3 pm to 5 pm. Covid-19 safety norms will be strictly followed, Bhatti said. There are only 72 members and due to Covid-19 restrictions, he said some 40 members are expected to vote. “We will maintain distance between voters. Sanitizers, thermometers and hand wash will be put in place. We will make sure that safety screens are put in place and everyone is wearing masks and other safety measures,” Bhatti said.