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  India   SC to hear Kanhaiya bail plea today, Bar Council vows ‘life ban’ on guilty

SC to hear Kanhaiya bail plea today, Bar Council vows ‘life ban’ on guilty

Published : Feb 19, 2016, 6:23 am IST
Updated : Feb 19, 2016, 6:23 am IST

Lawyers behind attack ignore summons

delhi 1.jpg
 delhi 1.jpg

Lawyers behind attack ignore summons

JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested earlier on charges of sedition, on Thursday petitioned the Supreme Court seeking bail, arguing he is innocent but the mob at the Patiala House court complex was ready to lynch him on Wednesday as if he was guilty, that erodes a citizen’s faith in the justice delivery system established under the law by India’s Constitution. The JNUSU chief said in his petition that the atmosphere of violence and intimidation continued unabated, and the visiting team was also attacked by a group of lawyers and others while returning to this Court, adding the environment at Patiala House was not conducive even for a hearing, much less for a fair trial. He sought bail and immediate release from custody based on what he said was the exceptional and unprecedented breakdown of the justice delivery system even after the Supreme Court’s directions on Wednesday morning.

The Supreme Court will hear the petition on Friday, while the Bar Council of India has decided to crack the whip on the group of unruly lawyers who turned violent at the Patiala House courts, saying the licences of those found guilty would be suspended for life.

The Bar Council also issued an unreserved apology to Kanhaiya Kumar, the media people and all those who were attacked by a group of lawyers in the Patiala House complex.

Incidentally, none of the three lawyers summoned by the Delhi police over the February 15 attack on journalists, JNU students and teachers in the Patiala House courts have appeared before the police yet.

At the Supreme Court on Thursday, a bench of Justices J. Chelameswar and A.M. Sapre, after hearing senior counsel Raju Ramachandran, posted Kanhaiya Kumar’s petition for hearing at 10.30 am Friday along with another petition filed by a lawyer who alleged that his complaint was not registered by the police.

Earlier, senior advocate R.P. Luthra took exception to Kanhaiya seeking bail directly in the Supreme Court through a writ petition and told the bench that this was against procedural law and the court should not act like a magistrate’s court. “I am yet to see a procedure by which this court can hear such a petition,” Mr Luthra said. But Justice Chelameswar shot back: “If a citizen comes to this court saying his fundamental rights are under threat, we have to hear him. Something extraordinary is going on in this country. No doubt about it... We will certainly examine this issue... Everybody should remember that the administration of justice should be fair. Ultimately we have to exercise our jurisdiction in one way or the other.” The bench ignored the objections and listed the matter for hearing at 10.30 am on Friday.

Earlier, the panel of senior lawyers comprising Kapil Sibal, Rajeev Dhavan, Harin Raval, Dushyant Dave and A.D.N. Rao submitted the report of Wednesday’s incidents as seen by them in a sealed cover. They were represented by former attorney-general Soli Sorabjee. Counsel Vrinda Grover, appearing for accused Kanhaiya Kumar, also submitted a separate report in a sealed cover on what had happened in the trial court on Wednesday when the accused was produced for remand. Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the registrar-general of the Delhi high court, also presented the report in a sealed cover.

Taking on record the reports, the bench asked the Delhi police to give its report on the incidents by 10.30 am on Friday. Additional solicitor-general Tushar Mehta, who also represented the police, said the report would be given in the court on Friday. Bar Council of India chief Manan Kumar Misra submitted that the assault on journalists by lawyers was a very serious matter, and that the BCI will take stringent disciplinary action against erring lawyers. He said: “We have taken note of the incidents with regard to the attack by lawyers and we will submit our report to the court on February 22.”

In his writ petition, Kanhaiya Kumar said he was an innocent person, and his presumption of innocence is sacrosanct. However, the mob at the Patiala House court complex was ready to lynch him on Wednesday as if he was guilty, which erodes a citizen’s faith in the justice delivery mechanism established under the law.

Apologising for the violence in the court premises on Wednesday, which occurred for a second time in a row ahead of the hearing of Kanhaiya Kumar’s sedition case, BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said the names of the Bar members, if found guilty of indulging in violence, will be removed from the rolls.

“I seek apology from mediapersons and that boy Kanhaiya Kumar for such mishappenings and misconduct. Strong action will be taken against lawyers, if found guilty of indulging in violence at the Patiala House courts... The action includes suspension of their licence for their entire life. Therefore, we can remove the name of any advocates from the roll of Bar Council for whole life,” Mr Mishra was quoted by PTI as saying.

The apex law body has set up a three-member committee, headed by a former high court judge, to probe the incidents of February 15 and 17 at Patiala House courts where a group of lawyers attacked Kanhaiya Kumar and had thrashed students and mediapersons.

“We have made a special request to the committee to submit its report and complete its proceedings within three weeks from today and we hope that soon after receiving the report of the inquiry committee, we will take strong action against the guilty,” he said. He said the BCI had taken a serious view of the incidents and considered it “shameful”. He added: “A handful of lawyers have done this.” The men dressed in lawyers’ robes had allegedly thrown sharp-edged objects at the team of senior lawyers and hurled abuses and expletives at them.

PTI reported that none of the three lawyers summoned by the Delhi Police for the February 15 attack on journalists, students and teachers of JNU at the Patiala House courts had appeared before the police yet. While one of the three lawyers has been identified as Vikram Singh Chauhan, the names of the other two have not been disclosed by the police yet. All three of them had been sent summons on Wednesday and asked to appear before the police by 3 pm Thursday. Delhi police commissioner B.S. Bassi said the police will move the court and obtain warrants if the three lawyers failed to appear soon.

The Delhi police has been under attack for not taking action against those involved in the assault at the court complex on Monday and Wednesday. Chauhan, who was caught on camera assaulting journalists, JNU students and teachers at the Patiala House courts on Monday, once again led a brazen attack on journalists and JNUSU chief Kanhaiya Kumar at the court premises on Wednesday.

Later, a person who identified himself as Surendra Tyagi came outside the court Wednesday and claimed he was among the attackers too. Boasting about his action, he confronted the media, saying: “We have done our job for today.” However, the police has so far found no video clip in which Tyagi can be seen assaulting anyone and said his claims are yet to be verified.

JNU leader Kanhaiya moves SC for bail hearing tomorrow

Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi