THE INDORE High Court Bar Association election 2006 has once again thrown up a lawyer from district court to the top post. Never mind that he is also a HC bar association member who pleads cases in High Court regularly.
District court lawyers are happy at this gain although their two candidates - Mohan Singh Chandel and Ghanshyam Yadav - had to withdraw their candidature in support of Meena S Chaphekar who unanimously won the election as vice-president.
Harban Singh Rajpal, who began his career from district court won as the president with 287 votes in the keenly contested elections held yesterday. A member of HC and district court bar, Rajpal, defeated his rival Kamal Gupta, another district court lawyer, who got 166 votes.
Although direct participation of prominent lobbies of HC lawyers was absent, their influence was at play, albeit subtly. Unanimous election of Meena, daughter-in-law of senior advocate G M Chaphekar (she is his nephew’s wife), is an example. The degree of respect he commands in legal circle forced the two district court lawyers to withdraw their candidature in favour of his daughter-in-law.
Another example is Akash Sharma who received 336 votes to become the executive committee member. He is a junior of former HC bar association vice-president Vivek Sharan. Sharan is a pupil of former Advocate General Anand Mohan Mathur. Likewise, newly elected executive committee member Maqbool Ahmed Mansuri (248 votes) is junior of senior lawyer Ashok Garg.
Interestingly, all the newly elected executive committee members are juniors of middle-rung lawyers who are neither too senior nor junior. Anand Soni (188 votes) son of L M Soni, Tarun Kushwah (273 votes) junior of Lokesh Bhatnagar and Anshuman Shrivastav (297) subordinate of Anand Sethi are such examples in addition to Sharma and Mansuri.
Likewise, Mahesh Sharma (195) who won as joint secretary had worked as junior to Sunil Jain, who has been elected as secretary this time. Jain, one time junior to advocate B L Pavecha, got 241 votes.
One conspicuous factor was that none of the subordinates of senior lawyer Satish Bagadia contested the elections this time. Another notable feature was low voter turnout. Only 461 out of 900 lawyers cast their vote, which was 50 per cent of the total electorate. Primary reason, sources say, could be that most Maharashtrian voters, who have formidable numerical strength, didn’t bother to vote after their candidate Meena Chaphekar won the polls effortlessly.
The predominance of Maharashtrian lobby in district and HC bar prevailed till the year 2000 when the candidates won by mutual consent.
It was after 2000, that more and more candidates began entering the fray, especially after lawyers like Shekhar Bhargav insisted on holding elections instead of having candidates selected through mutual consent and support. Former HC bar president P K Shukla crushed this predominance when he got elected as president for the first time in 2004.