AMID harsh allegations and mounting hostilities, Hongkong's Indian Chamber of Commerce risks losing credibility in the business community over the recent electoral scandal that has ended in a Supreme Court writ. The writ - demanding preservation of all documents connected with the election due to alleged irregularities concerning repeated proxy votes - was filed last week. ''This is very serious, because it calls into question the propriety of our chamber, our reputation in Hongkong and the rest of the world,'' said Mr Vijay Chugh, a former member and one of the three plaintiffs. ''I am worried about what will become of our status as a chamber,'' he said. With the Indian community responsible for 10 per cent of Hongkong's exports, damaged credibility could only prove disadvantageous for the Indian and Hongkong community alike. Also, unlike other trade chambers, the Indian one has considerable economic clout because the Government allows it to issue certificates of origin for goods exported or re-exported from the territory. Mr Chugh said he was concerned that the controversy over the election would bring the chamber into disrepute, and consequently, the removal of the privileged export certification. But worries about the chamber's future credibility do not end there. ''I have been a member of the chamber for more than 20 years, was on the committee for more than 11 years and am a former vice-chairman,'' said member Mr Gul Mirpuri. ''I assure you, every time there is an election, the members are unhappy and complain about the validity of the system. ''Of course this effects the credibility of the chamber. The members themselves know the system is wrong, but to change it would take so much time and effort, that the members give up and become indifferent.'' Mr Mirpuri said the situation was almost irreconcilable by means of a writ. ''After the writ is filed, it can take up to a year or more before any real legal decision is made. ''But by that point, we've already elected new members to the chamber and thus a new writ must be filed,'' he said, adding that, among approximately 375 voting members, three out of four exercise the right to a proxy vote. ''Most voters give their proxy six months in advance, but this is a total farce. People can very likely change their minds during the course of six months, and that's why all proxy votes should be accepted no more than a month in advance,'' he said. ''We will pay a price for all this; the importance of the chamber in the business community will diminish. And we can not afford to let this happen, we are a very important trade body in Hongkong.'' Mr Mirpuri said the problem is not actually with the proxy system but rather with the manner in which it is used. He said the ballots have no name on them, they are not serialised and, consequently, there is no way to keep voting procedures regulated and fair. Other members, talking only on the strict condition of anonymity, agreed that a system of serialised ballots could very easily mitigate the problems within the chamber. ''The writ will never work. We have had so many writs filed that I can no longer keep track,'' said a member. ''And with each new one, the chamber loses a little more weight in Hongkong's business community. ''Who's going to take us seriously? ''If we could just have the ballots numbered and recorded into a computer, so that each person could only vote once, we could stop this path towards utter destruction of the Indian chamber.'' But, according to the chamber's secretary general, Mr Chalakudi Subramanian, a serialised voting system is not necessary. ''First, there is no substantial justification for changing the system. I have never heard of any complaints about the electoral system,'' Mr Subramanian said. ''If nobody says anything to me, I can only judge the situation by their actions. Out of approximately 380 members, we had 326 votes cast at our last election. This excessive participation speaks for itself, you can draw your own conclusions about the credibility of the chamber,'' he said. Mr Subramanian questioned why members would continue voting, year after year, if they did not believe in the system. ''And as for changing the proxy system, that would take away the anonymity of the votes,'' he said. ''My sentiments exactly,'' said another member, speaking anonymously. This member added that some of the current members were negotiating a majority vote which would change the proxy system into a serialised, computerised ballot system.