New Delhi: Taking note of shocking events which obviously transgressed upon the privilege and sense of freedom of lawyers across the country, the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) and Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) have condemned the acts and called upon the authorities to take serious punitive action against all concerned for the atrocious conducts.
The lawyer bodies were concerned with the recent raid and search of the police at the offices of advocates Javed Ali and Mehmood Pracha and were shocked after a video of some policemen dragging a district court lawyer out of his residence in Etah of Uttar Pradesh went viral.
In a statement released here on Monday, the SCBA expressed shock, deep concern and dismay on "the arbitrary, illegal and brazen exercise of brute power by the police and actions taken by them contrary to law against members of the legal fraternity."
Regarding the raid and seizure conducted by the Delhi Police at the offices of Supreme Court Advocate Mehmood Pracha and advocate Javed Ali, the statement termed it malicious act "which defeats the rights of an advocate to practice his profession without fear or favour."
"Such actions are intimidatory and designed to abuse the due process by coercing an advocate to succumb to police threats and methods unheard of in legal annals. Such a search/seizure is in the teeth of the specific provisions of law which recognise the client lawyer relationship and protects all correspondence between the advocate and his client. This encroachment on the rights of an advocate by the police violates the rights of the accused to a fair trial guaranteed under Article 21," the statement reads.
"The grant of a search warrant by the Magistracy to search a lawyer's office in a routine mechanical manner, particularly in respect of a lawyer's communication and correspondences, is antithetical to rule of law and constitutes a disturbing violation of this privilege directly affecting the administration of justice,"
Objecting to the police conduct, the association called upon to "immediately forbear, cease and desist from using the information available on the devices so seized."
The BCD has written a letter to the Union Home Ministry to take action in the wake of the cases against the advocates.
"There is an understanding between representatives of the Bar Association/Bar Council and the Delhi Police that in case of any case against an advocate, the body will be taken into confidence," the letter signed by BCD vice-chairperson Himal Akhtar reads.
"This broader understanding is to maintain harmony and cordiality between two wings of the justice delivery system. This seems to have not been followed in the present case. While we don not want to go into various aspects of the matter, apparently the action of the Delhi Police falls short on theses aspects, which is a very serious matter as far as the legal community is concerned," the letter said.
In Etah, the policemen broke open the door of a house of advocate Rakesh Sharma and dragged him while being in his uniform and assaulted him mercilessly in front of his family. The Bar Council of India has condemned the attack and has urged the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court and the Chief Justice of India to take suo moto cognisance of the same.