With the Patiala House Bar Association set to hold an election in April, the lawyers body maintained a stoic silence over the violence at the court complex where advocates allegedly beat up journalists and students, including the arrested JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar.
While the Coordination Committee of all District Court Bar Associations claimed that certain “outsiders” in lawyers’ robes were involved in the violence, those condemning the assaults didn’t do so openly.
“These outsiders, mainly lawyers from other courts, are a significant vote bank which impacts the bar association elections. As the elections of the Patiala House Court Bar Association is scheduled in April, no one wants to upset them,” said a lawyer, on condition of anonymity.
Many lawyers are registered with more than one association and have cross-voting rights too, said an advocate, requesting anonymity.
He said the lawyers support each other in different district courts, and the anarchy will continue without the ‘one bar-one vote’ rule.
“The New Delhi Bar Association ‘s (NDBA) constitution only allows sitting members (lawyers) to vote, but a different tradition has developed over the last decade,” he said.
NDBA is also called the Patiala House Court Bar Association.
NDBA chairman RK Wadhwa said, “It is not about bar politics. The violence would have not occurred had the court restricted entry of the visitors. People in large numbers…gathered inside the court…Had there be no protesters, violence would have not happened.”
He said only litigants should be allowed inside the court complex.
“We have passed a resolution on the same with a copy to the Chief Justice of India, the high court, the police commissioner and the local deputy commissioner of police,” he said.
Delhi High Court Bar Association president Rajiv Khosla did not comment on the issue.
But he said it was not right to blame the bar elections for the responses. “A meeting of the Bar Council of India is taking place on Sunday. The issue will be discussed in the meeting,” he said.