Thursday, February 27, 2020

HC: Ensure lawyers for sedition-accused

To uphold the best legal traditions, a member of the Hubballi Bar Association should appear on behalf of the three Kashmiri students charged with sedition for allegedly raising pro-Pakistan slogans in their engineering college hostel in Hubballi on February 14, the Karnataka high court observed on Thursday.
The observation came a day after the court slammed the local bar for allegedly heckling a group of Bengaluru lawyers who had appeared on behalf of the students, calling it “sheer militancy”. On Thursday, HBA officer-bearers appeared before the court with a fresh resolution, modifying the one passed on February 15 that had barred its members from appearing for the accused. However, the court was still unhappy with the modified resolution, which left the matter to individual members.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka noted that instead of modifying it, the association should have simply recalled the contentious resolution. The association agreed to take back the resolution.
Meanwhile, despite assurances from HBA office-bearers to ensure that proceedings are conducted in a peaceful manner, the bench said it's February 20 order directing the local police to provide security to advocates appearing for the three students will continue. “We would have transferred the case here. That was a simple task. However, as far as possible, it should be heard there. That will send the right signal. It is not good that lawyers have to seek police protection for appearing in a court,” the chief justice observed.

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