The Supreme Court today refused to entertain a plea filed by Advocate Kumud Lata Das for the cancellation of the candidature of Senior Advocate Pradeep Rai for the post of President in the upcoming Supreme Court Bar Association(SCBA) election.

The plea was mentioned before the Bench of Justice Surya Kant and Justice KV Viswanathan by Advocate Das. Senior Advocate Rai also appeared before the Court. Kumud Lata Das alleged that the candidature of Rai should be cancelled due to an FIR that was registered against him in the year 2003 and also that Rai threatened her.

Senior Advocate Rai told the Court, "There is no FIR at all. This lady had called me three days back to withdraw in favour of Mr. Kapil Sibal. She mentions about an FIR where the complainant has tendered a public apology and the case was withdrawn. I have already filed an FIR in Tilak Marg Police Station. IO is on the way. This has to be investigated."

He further said, "The complainant has tendered unconditional apology in the newspaper. She is doing it on behest of Mr. Sibal".

On May 8, 2024, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal announced his candidature for the position of President in the upcoming SCBA elections.

Advocate Das submitted that an FIR has been registered against Pradeep Rai for impersonating and cheating. She told the Court that she has also filed a complaint under Sections 354 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 against Rai alleging passing indecent remarks and threatening her in the courtroom.

When lawyers started speaking over each other, Justice Kant said, "Please tell us, madam, what is the scope of our interference in the matter?"

Advocate Das replied, "His candidature ought to be cancelled because of his criminal antecedents. He impersonated..."

Justice Viswanathan sternly replied, "What is this Ms. Das? You know the law. What is this criminal antecedent? Is FIR a criminal antecedent? Is this the Supreme Court Bar. You are a proud member of it, what are you talking? Please don't bring all this here."

Justice Kant said, "Unnecessarily these things will come in public domain, people will have a debate. We are not talking about any particular case. But there is a possibility of victimisation of innocent people also. At the same time if there is some serious case, the law will take its own course...pre and post elections, both, remedies are there."

Advocate Das then stated, "We have a gender sensitization committee, I am a volunteer...I will file a complaint."

Justice Viswanathan, "Have you filed any suit? Have you shown any disqualification? Respect that it is 10:30 in the morning."

Advocate Das then said, "If I am mentioning or sending him a message(for mentioning), that doesn't mean he will threaten me inside the court..."

Justice Kant said, "That we will not allow anyone in the court. Every member of the bar is a respected member for us, everyone has right to an audience. We will not prevent anyone. We have been trying to accommodate everyone to the extent we could spare time for all of you, we have done it, we will continue to do that..... We are only saying that if SCBA rules contain some provisions, which according to you expressly or impliedly says something, please represent to the Election Committee. We have already authorised them."

Advocate Das has filed a complaint before the Police Station stating that Rai addressed her indecently in Court today and referred to her as "that lady".

The SCBA has published its list of candidates after scrutiny. The list was published by the Election Committee comprising Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta as its Chairman and Senior Advocates Meenakshi Arora and Rana Mukherjee as its members. There are six candidates contesting for the post of President of the Association, 1. Advocate Neeraj Srivastava 2. Senior Advocate Adish Chandra Aggarwala (Current President) 3. Senior Advocate Pradeep Kumar Rai 4. Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal 5. Advocate Tripurari Ray and 6. Senior Advocate Priya Hingorani.