RIGHT OF AN ACCUSED
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The Karnataka High Court observed that it is unethical and illegal for lawyers to pass resolutions against representing accused in court.
- Recently, the local bar association objected to four students arrested for sedition being defended in court. The Hubli Bar Association submitted that it would take back a resolution it had passed on February 15.
- On this resolution, the SC opined that, passing such resolution is against all norms of the Constitution, the statute and professional ethics.
- Passing such resolution is not the first time by the bar association.
Right of an accused and the constitution:
- Article 22 (1): It is fundamental right to every person not to be denied the right to be defended by a legal practitioner of his or her choice.
- Article 14: Provides equality before the law and equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
- Article 39A: Equal opportunity to secure justice must not be denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities, and provides for free legal aid – this is part of the Directive Principles of state policy.
Supreme Court on such resolutions:
A S Mohammed Rafi vs State of Tamil Nadu:
- The case was dealt in 2010, when a situation arose from a confrontation between a lawyer and policemen in Coimbatore in 2006.
- Immediately the lawyers passed a resolution to not support the policemen. But the Madras High Court said it is an unprofessional move after which lawyers appealed in the Supreme Court.
Opinion of the Supreme Court:
- Supreme Court in a statement said that, passing such resolution against such accused is wholly illegal, against all traditions of the bar and against professional ethics.
- The society has a right to be defended in a court of law and correspondingly, it is the duty of the lawyer to defend him.
Links to note: