Brief Facts of the Case
The Bar Council of India passed a resolution on 11th May 2020. The resolution stayed the decision to suspend its Secretary, Shri Ashok Arora. The Council decided in favour of Mr. Ashok Arora. This was against the resolution passed by the Executive Committee of SCBA dated 08.05.2020. The resolution, dated 08.05.2020 was passed by the Supreme Court Bar Association. It suspended the Secretary and divested him of his powers as Secretary.
Views of the Council
The Council is of the view that this is an extreme case. Additionally, it is one that has a far-reaching effect on the workings of Bar Associations of the country. Meanwhile, they mentioned that Members appeared in a very distressful manner at the turn of events at SCBA. They considered the view that there has been damage caused to the dignity, prestige & honour of the Bar. The reason being the tussle and fight among the Members of the Executive Committee.
Chain of events following the Suspension
Mr. Ashok Arora submitted his representation to the BCI. Later, only the chain of events that took place between 6th May to 8th May was taken into account by the Council.
The SCBA held a programme to bid farewell to Hon’ble Mr. Justice Deepak Gupta on the 6th of May, 2020. The Honorary Secretary of SCBA conducts the proceedings of the programme. But the President and some other Members kept Mr. Ashok Arora out of the programme.
On the same day, Mr. Ashok Arora sent an email to the Executive Committee Members. The email was for the removal of Mr. Dushyant Dave from the post of President and primary membership of SCBA. Additionally, another email that was sent included information for holding an “Emergent General Meeting’. This was to discuss the agenda, including the removal of Mr. Dushyant Dave. Further, Mr. Dushyant Dave responded to the notice by denying all claims made by Mr. Ashok Arora. He then informed them that he would continue to serve throughout his tenure.
The proposed General Meeting on 8th May adjourned sine die. The Courts were of the view that the decision was a sensible and mature way of handling the situation. Yet, the events that follow next were baffling to the Council. The President along with the Executive Committee met and passed several resolutions. One of the resolutions was to suspend the Honorary Secretary. Subsequently, the Joint Secretary received that position.
What members have to say
“The Executive Committee subsequently passed the resolution on 8th May 2020. It considered suspending Mr. Ashok Arora, beyond the powers of the Executive Committee. However, the members found it illegal, cavalier, undemocratic, and autocratic in nature. It is vindictive on the face of it. The general body of Members of SCBA elected Mr. Arora as Honorary Secretary in full capacity. The Executive Committee which consists of elected members cannot suspend him now. It is a mindboggling misuse and abuse of its position by the Executive Committee. Further, any other body conferring such power, later would not take any action to the person concerned. So, the impugned Resolution of the Executive Committee is illegal and arbitrary. It is also against the principles of natural justice.”
On the other hand, the majority of Members of the Bar shocked to see this act of a few members of the Executive Committee of SCBA.
It is thus believed that the illegal resolution passed by the Executive Committee cannot remain in force. As it will result in irretrievable injustice to an elected office bearer of SCBA. Thus, the BCI resolved to stay the resolution dated 08.05.2020 passed by the Executive Committee of SCBA. Hence, the resolution stayed with immediate effect. Also, under Section 35 or 36 of the Advocates Act, 1961, and BCI Rules, the actions of the Members of the Executive Committee are misconduct. Presently, the decision of the actions being misconduct will remain open for the Court to decide in the future if the need arises.
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