Delhi HC appoints former judge as administrator of Indian Orthopaedic Association

The Delhi High Court has expressed anguish at the state of affairs in the Indian Orthopaedic Association (IOA) and appointed its former judge Justice J R Midha as its ‘Administrator’.

In an order passed on a lawsuit by some doctors about “serious irregularities” in the conduct of elections to the medical body in November 2020, the court said as the Administrator, Justice Midha, shall conduct the affairs of the IOA till the executive committee is reconstituted pursuant to the elections slated to be held in November 2023.

“This Court is constrained to express its anguish at the state of affairs in the Indian Orthopaedic Association (Defendant No.7), which is an association comprising highly accomplished doctors in the field of orthopaedic surgery,” said Justice Sachin Datta in a recent order.

“Serious and disturbing discrepancies regarding the conduct of elections in November 2020 have been brought to light… Inclusion of dead person/s in the voting list; votes having been cast by such dead person/s; bogus votes having been cast on behalf of certain persons (amongst others)… have reduced the impugned election/s conducted in November 2020, to a complete mockery,” the court said.

In its order, the court also took note of the allegation of “selective disclosure” of the identity of voters and voting pattern and said every person entrusted with election duties has an obligation to maintain and aid in maintaining the secrecy of the voting as it protects the integrity of the electoral process and ensures that voters can cast their ballots without fear of reprisal.

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It also said secrecy of the ballot is important not just on the election day, the post-election secrecy of the ballot is equally an important part of ensuring free and fair elections.

The court said the Administrator will conduct the affairs of the IOA with the aid of the incumbent executive committee and file an interim report in three weeks.

It added that the Administrator will also take appropriate steps to review of the voters’ list for the upcoming elections and put appropriate mechanisms in place to ensure its purity and integrity.

“It is unfortunate that an association having such salutary objectives, constituted to serve the public good, and comprising some of the most renowned medical professionals in the country, has been reduced to its present state of affairs. It is hoped and expected that necessary remedial steps shall be taken by the association,” the court said.

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