Mujahid Nafees, associated with the All-India Right to Education (RTE) Forum, and heading Shala Mitra Sangh, Gujarat, has written to the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court objecting to the resolution passed by Jamnagar and Rajkot Bar Associations regarding not to defend cases of those who are accused of terrorist activities. Text of the letter:
It is to inform you that last February, the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) made some arrests of persons accused of involvement in terrorist activities. In this context, the Rajkot Bar Association passed a resolution on February 27, 2017 and the Jamnagar Bar Association passed a resolution on February 28, 2017 not to defend the cases of the accused, and have communicated the same through media that no lawyer will defend these accused.
Honourable Sir, it is clearly mentioned in the Rules of Bar Council of India, Chapter 2, Standards of Professional Conduct and Etiquette, that: “Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing obligation, an advocate shall fearlessly uphold the interests of his client and in his conduct conform to the rules hereinafter mentioned both in letter and in spirit. The rules hereinafter mentioned contain canons of conduct and etiquette adopted as general guides, yet the specific mention thereof shall not be construed as a denial of the existence of others equally imperative though not specifically mentioned.”
Article 22(1) of the Constitution states: “No person who is arrested shall be detained in custody without being informed, as soon as maybe, of the grounds for which arrest nor shall he be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice”.
In the matter of the Civil Appeal No 10304-10308 of 2010 (Arising out of SLP(C) Nos 26659-26663 of 2008), the Supreme Court, mentioning the orders of various courts, has clearly mentioned that such resolutions are wholly illegal, against all traditions of the bar, and against professional ethics.
Every person, howsoever wicked, depraved, vile, degenerate, perverted, loathsome, execrable, vicious or repulsive he may be regarded by society has a right to be defended in a court of law and correspondingly it is the duty of the lawyer to defend him.
The Hon. Court said “We declare that all such resolutions of Bar Associations in India are null and void”.
The copy of this order was ordered to be distributed to all State Bar Councils and the District Bars.
Honourable Sir, the resolutions by Rajkot and Jamnagar Bar Associations not to defend accuses are a clear violation of the fundamental right to access to justice, prove innocence and the order of Hon. Supreme Court of India.
You are requested to declare these resolutions as illegal/ null and void, issue orders to remove the officers of the above Bar Associations for passing the resolutions in violation of the orders of the Hon. Supreme Court, and necessary proceeding should be initiated against them and against those persons who are involved in the said illegal resolution for the offence of “Contempt of the Court” for the contempt of the orders of the Supreme Court or any other necessary steps.
I shall be grateful if you will inform me about the actions taken in the matter.