Karnataka HC’s displeasure at Hubli Bar’s refusal to represent Kashmiri students

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Karnataka High Court today expressed its displeasure at the resolution passed by the Hubli Bar Association stating that no advocate associated to the said Bar shall represent the case of three Kashmiri students who are charged with sedition for allegedly raising pro-Pakistan slogans and posting it on social media.

On a petition filed by a group of 24 advocates challenging the said resolution, a division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Abhay Sreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar ordered the Hubli Commissioner of Police to ensure complete Police protection for those advocates who wish to represent the three Kashmiri engineering students against whom sedition charges were pressed.

Taking strong exception to the said resolution, CJ Oka remarked, “How can the Bar Association pass such a resolution. By passing such a resolution they are obstructing court work. Are they carrying out a mini-trial by themselves?”

Petitioners have contended that the resolution passed by the Hubli Bar Association is illegal, without the force of law and violates the fundamental right of the Accused under Article 22(1) of the Constitution of India, which states that all persons who are arrested or detained have a fundamental right to be represented by a legal practitioner of his or her choice.

“The said resolution has resulted in the creation of an atmosphere of fear and intimidation due to which none of the Advocates feels safe and secure to appear before the Hon’ble Court and this has had a chilling effect on advocates coming forward to represent the accused”,  say petitioners.

Petitioners have also drawn the attention of the court to a similar resolution passed by the Mysuru Bar Association asking its members to refrain from appearing for Nalini Balakumar, who was charged with sedition for holding a Free Kashmir placard during an anti-CAA protest.

The Leaflet