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SCBA elections: Plea in Supreme Court seeks polling by secret ballot in physical form

The petition is filed by Advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav. He submits a huge amount of money from SCBA members is going to be misused for hiring services of an agency for virtual elections.

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A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking directions to conduct upcoming Supreme Court Bar Association elections 2020-2021, strictly by way of “secret ballot” in physical form, in terms of Bye-Law no. 17 of Supreme Court Bar Association. 

The petition seeks directions to the “Joint Secretary Cooperative & Central Registrar”, “Chairman, Election Committee, 2021”, and the “Supreme Court Bar Association”, stating that more than 70% of the total voters as well as contestants who are participating in the upcoming elections, demand that it should be conducted in the physical form, and not by any other form. 

It is filed by Advocate Pradeep Kumar Yadav who is also a contesting candidate in the upcoming SCBA elections. He submits a huge amount of money from SCBA members is going to be misused for hiring services of an agency for virtual elections. 

He also questioned the mechanism adopted for the Election. “what is the mechanism used by the agency to identify the real voter or no proxy voting will be done, how it will be done and how it can make sure that there will be no mismanagement is debatable,” he asked. 

The members of the SCBA is not ready to adopt the Virtual or Hybrid method of elections as most of the Advocates have gone back to their respective native places and there is a remote possibility to access to the internet and virtual mode of elections is not practical and if they don’t vote their valuable right will be vanished. It is requested before this Hon’ble court to direct the respondent/s to conduct the election strictly as pre the Bye-Law No. 17 of the Supreme Court Bar Association,” is stated in the petition. 

The petition said, “if the statute provides “for a thing to be done in a particular manner, then it has to be done in that manner and in no other manner”, if as per the Registered Bye-Laws of the Supreme Court Bar Association if the elections have to be conducted by the secret ballot it has to be done in that manner only.”

The petitioner also mentioned that As per the Bye-Law no. 17 of the Registered Bye-Laws of the Supreme Court Bar Association 

17. ELECTIONS:

“The Office-Bearers of the Association shall be elected by secret ballot and the other members of the Committees shall be elected by secret ballot by single distributive votes at the Annual Election. No office bearer or member of the Committee shall be eligible to hold any office for more than two consecutive years. Canvassing in any form on the date of polling is prohibited”.

Yesterday only, the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) has issued Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for “e-Voting” in the upcoming Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Elections 2020-2021, scheduled to be held on 27th February 2021. 

In its Note regarding e-Voting system published on the SCBA website, the NSDL has said, “The members can access the e-Voting system at https://www.evoting.nsdl.com and log in through user Id and One Time Password (OTP) to be communicated via registered email and/or mobile number to the eligible voter members to cast vote on the polling day already announced i.e. 27.02.2021 (10:30 AM to 6:00 PM). Apart from convenience of home/office, the safety, security and integrity of voting is ensured by protected systems which cannot be tampered.”

The “Election Committee” for SCBA Election 2020-21 also proposes to hold town hall meeting in virtual mode to address the queries of members on 20/02/2021 between 11.00 am to 1.00 pm.

Read Also: SCBA Elections: NSDL issues standard operating procedure for e-voting

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