In a first, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) is gearing up to hold its annual elections through a virtual platform owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Election Committee of the SCBA has suggested that if polls are to be held in January 2021, then it should be held virtually using NSDL platform.
The annuals polls elect the office bearers of the Executive Committee of the SCBA which governs the apex court Bar.
“A decision has been taken that the third option (holding elections virtually using NSDL platform) is the most suitable option for the purpose of holding the election if it is to be held in the month of January 2021,” the minutes of meeting of the Election Committee said.
The Election Committee at its meeting, considered the following for options to hold the elections.
(i) A physical election
(ii)An election in both modes, namely physical and virtual will be made available to the voters as per their preference.
(iii) The entire election be held virtually using a platform like NSDL.
(iv) The entire election be held virtually on NSDL but with a limited number of computers being made available in the Supreme Court premises for the convenience of those who may not have access of computer/phone.
The options involving physical voting were discarded considering the fact that the process of counting physical votes require a large number of volunteers and agents of candidates and such arrangement also cannot be made safely during the pandemic.
The option of providing limited number of computers for the convenience of those who do not have access to phones and computers, was also rejected because it would require physical presence of voters at the Supreme Court besides support staff.
“Providing computer terminal in the Supreme Court compound apart from requiring the presence of many voters and support staff would also require for the proper sanitization of the computer equipment after each voter has cast his or her vote. As is well recognized, the virus can spread by touching surfaces that have been used by infected persons recently. Such recourse would therefore defeat the purpose of having a safe election, by avoiding any form of physical contact,” the minutes stated.
It eventually opted for the third taking into the COVID-19 situation.
“As far as the third option is concerned, the Committee has inter-acted with NSDL and has found that it offers a fool-proof method of holding the election virtually in a completely safe manner,” the Election Committee said.
The schedule for holding elections will be decided after the draft voters list is prepared.