Indira Jaising

| @IJaising | October 20,2018

I have learnt about the allegations of rape by a survivor who is a student at JNU  for the first time from the FirstPost  article published today. Although the survivor has not named the person who raped her, the obvious reference is to Talib Hussain. FirstPost has stated that they have in accordance with journalistic ethics done their due diligence and verified the allegations to the best of their ability which I appreciate.

I had, on the instructions and advise of the biological father of deceased rape victim of Kathua, appeared for the father to seek justice for the 8-year-old victim of the Bakarwal community and sought the transfer of the case form Kathua to Pathankot. Talib was one of the activists who first brought the rape and murder of the child to public attention. Given the communally charged atmosphere around the case, protection was sought for the lawyer for the family, Deepika Singh Rajawat, and for Talib Hussain, who is himself a Bakarwal, and was the first person to alert the public of the murder and rape.

In the light of the article published today in FirstPost,  I do not intend to continue to appear on behalf of Talib Hussain anymore. I take the decision in view of my full support of the #MeToo movement

Since then, Talib Hussain has been accused in two cases — one by his wife and one by his sister-in-law, alleging domestic violence and rape, respectively. However, his family had filed a petition in the Supreme Court alleging that they were eyewitnesses to his torture in prison. Since I believe that torture in prison is a gross violation of the right to life,  I  represented his family in the Supreme Court in a petition limited to an enquiry into his torture.

In the light of the article published today in FirstPost,  I do not intend to continue to appear on behalf of Talib Hussain anymore. I take the decision in view of my full support of the #MeToo movement.

The legal profession has a  “Cab-Rank rule”, which states that ordinarily no advocate will withdraw from engagements once accepted without sufficient cause. In my opinion the allegations made in the FirstPostarticle are sufficient cause for me to take the decision to withdraw from this case. The Bar Council of India Rules in the chapter for “Duties To Clients”does provide an advocate the exception to withdraw from services to a client if there is “sufficient cause”. This rule reads as:

“An advocate should not ordinarily withdraw from serving a client once he has agreed to serve them. He can withdraw only if he has a sufficient cause and by giving reasonable and sufficient notice to the client. Upon withdrawal, he shall refund such part of the fee that has not accrued to the client.”

I am committed to the #MeToo movement, and stand with the student’s right to speak in the public domain without fear of reprisals. My continued appearance for Talib, even though limited to his allegations of torture, will be inconsistent with my support for the #MeToo movement. I will continue to support the family of the victim of the Kathua rape and murder

Since I had appeared pro bono, the question of returning fees does not arise. I am committed to the #MeToo movement, and stand with the student’s right to speak in the public domain without fear of reprisals. My continued appearance for Talib, even though limited to his allegations of torture, will be inconsistent with my support for the #MeToo movement. I will continue to support the family of the victim of the Kathua rape and murder.

I believe that a lawyer is not the hired spokesperson of a client, but has social obligations and public responsibilities that go beyond the profession. It is their duty to present to the Court facts as they see them. It  is the obligation of lawyers to uphold public interest. My social commitment to the #MeToo movement overrides my professional engagement, and therefore  I have taken a conscious decision to stop representing Talib Hussain in any court.

I believe that a lawyer is not the hired spokesperson of a client, but has social obligations and public responsibilities that go beyond the profession. It is their duty to present to the Court facts as they see them. It  is the obligation of lawyers to uphold public interest

I consider the #MeToo movement to be revolutionary and transformative in its content. In several of the cases in which I have appeared in the recent past, I have argued for upholding constitutional morality. I believe that there is an inseparable link between justice, morality, and constitutional law. In a recent speech delivered on the invitation of The Indian Expressby the then Chief Justice designate, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, he pointed out that what is needed is a revolution of the legal system and not just  reform. I am in complete agreement with the Chief Justice of India.  The #MeToo movement has come organically to the doorstep of the law. There is no going back to the status quo.

[Photocredit: Banner photograph of Indira Jaising is by Narendra Bisht.]

8
Leave a Reply

avatar
8 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
3 Comment authors
asha kachruDr K S BhardwajHaridas Mandal Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Haridas Mandal
Guest
Haridas Mandal

That itself a strong statemen. Lets say all the accused in MeToo are convicted and punished will that empower the hapless women who constitute the muke majority? The answer is a NO. Lets think out of the box. It was a few muslim women who protested against the Teen Talaq and we hv a Law. A few women wanted equal rights for women of all ages to Sabarmala and SC has given us a verdict. But SC itself is a Men’s domain where Indu Malhotras (elevated by the Govt)) are in the minority. But there are officially 49% population are… Read more »

Dr K S Bhardwaj
Guest
Dr K S Bhardwaj

Suitable And Appropriate Decision.

trackback

[…] she went public with her harrowing incident, renowned Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising has disassociated herself from Talib’s case. Talib’s family had alleged that the activist was being tortured in prison. In a formal […]

trackback

[…] she went public with her harrowing incident, renowned Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising has disassociated herself from Talib’s case. Talib’s family had alleged that the activist was being tortured in prison. In a formal […]

trackback

[…] Senior Advocate Indira Jaising who has been representing the family of Talib Hussain in a petition in the Supreme Court seeking inquiry into alleged custodial torture of Hussain in two other cases related to domestic violence and rape filed by his wife and sister-in-law, has now chosen to withdraw from the case. […]

trackback

[…] solidarity and support to the wave of #metoo revelations that have jolted several prominent names, Senior Advocate Indira Jaising has decided to withdraw from the cases filed against Advocate Talib Hussain, who was one of the activists who first […]

trackback

[…] “I do not intend to continue to appear on behalf of Talib Hussain anymore. I take the decision in view of my full support of the #MeToo movement,” she wrote in an article published on The Leaflet. […]

asha kachru
Guest
asha kachru

as a woman and as a feminist I am happy to note the sincereity with which Indira is doing her job. yes for me too social responsibility overrides all other professional or other responsibilities. hence I am happy she quits representing Talib Hussain and is in solidarity with the MeToo movement which surely is a revolutionary movement which will bring a largescale change in the mindsets of most men as most are involved in one way or other and to different extents in harassing women.

Also Read

After #MeToo, beyond POSH

November 13,2018

Who was Justice Holmes?

October 23,2018

In pursuit of justice

October 9,2018

Humanity deported

October 6,2018

A liberal court

October 3,2018

Ambedkar's feminism

September 18,2018

Azadi for LGBTQI communities

September 8,2018

Mother like no other

September 7,2018

Why Article 35A matters

August 15,2018

Challenges beyond 377

August 13,2018

A positive beginning

August 10,2018

WSS condemn transphobia

August 6,2018

Blame it on Collegium

August 5,2018

Scroll Up