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Allegations fly as bar council elections loom

Wednesday, February 14, 2018
By Edrich Miranda

Hectic lobbying and dinner diplomacy is the order of the day, for the prestigious election to the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa, (BCM&G). The election slated for March 28, has already generated heat, with allegations and cross allegations amongst members and contestants.

One lobby that does not wish to be named, for fear of victimisation, questions why the AGM and other important circulars, are not put up on the BCM&G’s website? Why are copies of accounts not given to members? Why are tenders are not called for, and if called for, why are there no transparency? Some candidates wanted to know how the chairman becomes entitled to, Rs 10 lakh travelling allowance, for a period of six months and on what basis RTI queries pertaining to the functioning of the Bar Council are declined?

That all is not well is evident from the fact that legal eagles usually gloat over statutes, at times splitting hairs, but are not interested in setting their own house in order. This reporter received a Watsup message, purportedly from advocate Mukesh Pandey, inviting all and sundry to dinner with a camouflaged invitation to drinks under the title “Chouka”, at a bungalow in Kaman Vasai East.

A lot of other advocates are throwing parties to woo voters, some of the contestants have taken up to social media with fervent pleas to the electorate not to vote based on caste and religious lines and only by merit, which this reporter has learned from the Facebook page of advocate Harminder Anand. Mahesh Vaswani, one of the contestants, is a journalist and a practicing advocate, who refused to comment on grounds that it would be unethical.

Litigants are the worst affected, as all disciplinary proceedings against unethical advocates have come to an abrupt halt with no committee in place. Litigants Resham Thakur and Gorden say the situation was already bad, powers were vested exclusively in the Council to adjudicate irregularities by advocates members of their own association. There is bound to be conflict of interest and bias as advocates sit as judges over disputes of their brother advocates.

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