19 Jun 2021 8:36 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Friday appointed Former Justice GS Sistani as an Observer to carry out modalities of the election process for appointing Vice President of the Dental Council of India. A vacation bench comprising of Justice Amit Bansal ordered thus: "To carry out the process of holding of election in a smooth manner, I appoint Justice G.S. Sistani, retired judge of this Court, as...
The Delhi High Court on Friday appointed Former Justice GS Sistani as an Observer to carry out modalities of the election process for appointing Vice President of the Dental Council of India.
A vacation bench comprising of Justice Amit Bansal ordered thus:
"To carry out the process of holding of election in a smooth manner, I appoint Justice G.S. Sistani, retired judge of this Court, as an Observer. Justice G.S. Sistani will consult with the Secretary and the members of the Executive Committee of the respondent no.2 council to carry out the modalities of the election process, including but not limited to holding elections virtually and the notices to be sent to the members of the council and will oversee the conduct of the elections."
The development came in a plea challenging the Centre's order dated 11th May 2021 by which it had asked Dr. Ashok Khandelwal to discharge functions of President of the Dental Council of India with immediate effect. Furthermore, direction was also sought to elect a Chairman of the Council through circulation process as provided under Clause 3 (5) and 8 of the Regulations of the Dental Council of India, 1956 (Regulations) till the posts of President and Vice President remain vacant. In view of this, the plea also sought stay on the operation of the impugned order.
The then President of the Council was removed earlier which was challenged in the High Court wherein the Court had reserved judgment on May 31. However, the erstwhile Vice President of the Council had also tendered resignation on May 3. In view of the said vacancy, Dr. Ashok Khandelwal was appointed to discharge functions of the President with immediate effect till elections for the said post takes place.
The vacation bench who heard the matter on 18th May asked the Respondents to obtain instructions as to whether elections could be held for the post of Vice President of Council sometime in the near future. Thereafter the respondents had informed the Court that conducting elections would have to await 40 days' notice period as per the Regulations and therefore, cannot be conducted anytime soon, which was opposed by the petitioners.
It was submitted on behalf of the petitioners that under the Act, the Government of India does not have the power to appoint the President of the Council. Furthermore, it was also submitted that Dr. Khandelwal should not have been appointed as the President even on a temporary basis as he is neither the senior most member, nor the most experienced/qualified member of the Council.
On the other hand, the ASG submitted that in view of the unprecedented situation where offices of both the President and the Vice President had fallen vacant, the Government had to issue the imougned order. Moreover, it was contended that Regulation 8 and Regulation 39 come into play only when there is a temporary absence of both the President and the Vice President and not in a situation where both the said offices are lying vacant.
In view of the aforesaid submissions, the Court observed thus:
"At this stage, I am only to take a prima facie view as to whether there is a necessity for appointing a member to perform the functions of the President as a temporary arrangement. In my prima facie view, the doctrine of necessity has rightly been invoked by the respondent no.1 in the present scenario, where the respondent no.2 council was left in an unprecedented situation without a President and a Vice President."
Furthermore, dealing with the impugned order, the Court said:
"In my prima facie view, respondent no.1 is right in contending that the functioning of respondent no.2 council would be impaired in the absence of a President/Vice President and therefore, I see nothing wrong in respondent no.1 appointing someone to perform functions of the President on a temporary basis."
"Though I am not inclined to stay the impugned Order, but I am inclined to maintain the democratic functioning of the respondent no.2 council. It is essential that institutions like the respondent no.2 council, that perform important public functions, continue to retain their democratic character. After all, democratic values are the essence of our society and elections are the bedrock of democracy."
"Accordingly, I direct the respondents to forthwith hold elections for the post of Vice President, as per procedure prescribed in the Act and the Regulations." The Court directed.
While appointing former Justice GS Sistani as the Observer in the Election process, the Court directed:
"The Secretary of respondent no.2 council would render all assistance to Justice G.S. Sistani in holding of the elections. Justice G.S. Sistani will be paid an honorarium of Rs. 2 lakhs by respondent no.2 council for the services rendered by him. Till the Vice President is so elected, respondent no.3 will continue to discharge functions of the President in terms of the impugned Order dated 11th May, 2021, subject to judgement/orders that may be passed in W.P.(C) No.9053/2020."
Mr. Paramjit Patwalia, Senior Advocate with Mr. Rupal Luthra, Advocate for the Petitioners.
Mr. Chetan Sharma, ASG with Mr. Anil Soni, CGSC, Mr. Sahaj Garg (GP),Mr. Devesh Dubey, Mr. Vinay Yadav and Mr. Akshay Gadeock, Advocates for R-1/UOI. Ms. Aakansha Kaul, Adv. for R-2.Mr. Purushaindra Kaurav, Senior Advocate with Mr. Sunny Choudhary, Mr. Abhinav Shrivastava and Mr. Nirmal Prasad,Advocates for R-3.
Title: DR. VIVEK KUMAR & ORS v. UNION OF INDIA AND ORS.
Click Here To Read Order