Jabalpur: The Jabalpur High Court on Tuesday 9 November issued order in the interest of justice directing the 3 newly appointed Assistants to Secretary Bhopal Chambers of Commerce and Industry to conduct in place of the Secretary/Returning Officer the Chambers’ election. The newly appointed assistants are Aakash Telang, Rohit Shroti and Anshul Agrawal, all advocates.
The order comes in response to a petition by Lalit Jain, the outgoing President of Bhopal Chambers of Commerce and Industry. He had filed a review petition in the High Court making a prayer to recall the order of 8 October 2021 passed in W.P. No.19501/2021 for holding the election to elect the new executive body of Bhopal Chambers.of Commerce and Industry on 14 November.
The petitioner submitted before the single Judge High Court Bench of Justice Vishal Chahat that direction was given by the High Court to respondent No.4 (Secretary) to conduct election of Bhopal Chambers of Commerce and Industries strictly following COVID-19 protocol. The petitioner submitted that respondent No.4 – Mukesh Sen – who was Secretary and Election Officer of Bhopal Chambers of Commerce, was impleaded in private capacity and in official capacity. It was also brought to the notice of the High Court by counsel for Lalit Jain that respondent Mukesh Sen had resigned. However, this was contradicted by the counsel appearing for the respondent and the Court was told that he had been forced to resign and that he has filed an FIR in this regard. The Court was informed that he did not resign voluntarily.
Qasim Ali, Counsel appearing for the petitioner submitted that since direction had been given to the Secretary/Returning Officer and since has resigned, the order of 8 October 2021 may be modified and direction be given that secretary may be appointed so that election could be conducted fairly and smoothly.
Ajay Gupta, the Counsel appearing for respondents, who were petitioners in the original writ petition, submitted that review petition is only filed to delay the election. New secretary is to be appointed by petitioner i.e. president which wil take time. Review Petition only has been filed to delay the election process. It was also submitted that part of election process is already complete and now only voting and counting is to be done and that the petitioner deliberately wants to delay the election process.
The Court was informed that three assistants have already been appointed with majority decision of contesting candidates to help the secretary and for conduct of election as per Bye-laws No.2 of the year 1952 during meeting held on 23 October 2021. Therefore, it was submitted, in the absence of secretary, these assistants can go ahead and conduct the election.
Counsel appearing for petitioner submitted that if direction to Mukesh Sen is modified and three assistants is directed to complete the process of election then he has no objection. It was further submitted that petitioner does not want to delay the election.
The HC order says that the petitioner is expected to cooperate in fair and smooth conduct of election.