New Delhi, May 9: The Executive Committee of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) suspended its Secretary Ashok Arora with immediate effect on Friday in a meeting held through online conference, an SCBA official said.

The suspension came a day after Mr Arora had called an emergent general meeting (EGM) of the lawyers’ body on May 11 to deliberate on agenda for removing senior advocate Dushyant Dave from the post of SCBA President, PTI reported.

The Executive Committee also cancelled the proposed EGM and decided to set up a three-member panel to look into the allegations against Mr Arora, said SCBA Treasurer Meenesh Dubey. He said the decision to suspend Mr Arora was taken by majority of participating lawyers.

Mr Arora, in a statement, said, “On May 7, the President (Dave) claimed that no general body could remove him since he was elected by SCBA members for a year but today a few members took this illegal action to suspend the Secretary.”

“There is no provision in the SCBA Rules to suspend a duly elected secretary. It is all because of manipulation and unscrupulous designs of the President, Vice President…and a few others. It is clearly a vindictive action because I had convened an Emergent General Meeting on the requisition of four hundred ten SCBA members to consider the removal of the President…,” Mr Arora said.

He said there is documentary evidence to show that “the President and his men/women in the EC intimidated me from time to time for which I reserve my right to initiate legal action. They suspended me on vague and baseless allegation. In fact their undemocratic action damaged the reputation of this prestigious Bar”.

He said during his present tenure, the prestige of SCBA skyrocketed and the social justice committee spent about 300 hours to figure out how to rehabilitate the riot victims of northeast Delhi and without spending a single penny from SCBA funds, Rs 25 lakhs were contributed to rehabilitate about 46 families.

Even as Mr Arora called the EGM, Dave had written to the bar members calling the move as illegal and improper saying he is an elected President of the lawyers” body and would continue to serve till his tenure ends.

Mr Arora had said that the agenda of meeting will be to consider the resolutions signed by 410 members of SCBA, addressed to the secretary to condemn the unauthorised resolution dated February 25, purportedly passed by the executive committee and to immediately withdraw the same.

Differences appeared among the top office bearers in the SCBA over the stand taken by the lawyers” body on a ”resolution” concerning statements made by Justice Arun Mishra about Prime Minister Narendra Modi at International Judicial Conference-2020.

Shortly after Dave had issued the February 25 ”resolution”, allegedly signed by several members of the lawyers’ body expressing anguish and concern over Justice Mishra’s statements, Arora had claimed that “no resolution has been passed” as he did not sign the statement released to the media.

Arora had then said, “There was no executive council or general body meeting of the Association. The President has taken an arbitrary dictatorial and irresponsible stand. He cannot speak on behalf of SCBA without calling general body meeting or meeting of the executive council on such a serious issue”.

Arora had said that all the communication to the media is to be sent through the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who is General Secretary of the SCBA.

“It is not a resolution in the eyes of law because it was not signed by me,” he said, adding that Dave has made available to media a circular which contained suggestions of only six to seven members.

The lawyers” body in its resolution had said, “The SCBA expresses its strong reservations on the statement and condemns the same strongly. The SCBA believes that the independence of the judiciary is the basic structure under the Constitution of India and that such independence be preserved in letter and spirit.”

On February 22, Justice Mishra was all praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi while delivering the vote of thanks at the inaugural function of the International Judicial Conference 2020 – ”Judiciary and the Changing World” and termed him as an “internationally acclaimed visionary” and a “versatile genius, who thinks globally and acts locally”.

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