Lawyers object to a few advocates offering to defend the accused

The commencement of the pre-trial proceedings in the Delhi gang-rape case descended into chaos on Monday when a section of lawyers created a ruckus in the court, objecting to a few advocates coming forward to defend the accused or serve as amicus curiae.

The Delhi Police then moved an application for holding further proceedings away from public glare, and the court ordered in-camera proceedings and put a gag reporting on the case by the print and electronic media.

Metropolitan Magistrate Namrita Aggarwal said: “Keeping in view the situation which has arisen in this case, proceedings, including the inquiry and the trial, will be held in-camera. I am invoking Sections 327 (2) and 327(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code. Hence, all public persons and everybody present in the courtroom, except the prosecutor and the accused persons, are directed to vacate the courtroom. It shall not be lawful to print or publish any matter or content in this case, except with the permission of this court.”

Trouble began in the courtroom — packed to capacity with lawyers, journalists from the national and international media, and policemen — when two lawyers came forward to offer their services. A section of young lawyers including women, claiming to be from the Saket Bar Association, angrily confronted them and shouted: “We will not let any lawyer appear for the accused.” The war of words also saw much finger-pointing, emotional outbursts and thumping of tables.

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