The State government on Tuesday described the public interest litigation petition filed by the Advocates' Association, Bangalore, as one that does not espouse any public cause and instead attempts “to protect a section of advocates who have indulged in unlawful assembly, rioting and vandalising public properties” during the March 2 violence at the city civil court complex here.
In its response before the High Court, the Government stated that the association has filed the petition “with no clean hands” and the pleas made in the petition are “one-sided” and would amount to “protecting the accused” as several cases of serious offences had been registered against many advocates in connection with the violence.
The association has made a series of allegations, including conspiracy in attacking advocates, against the police and media personnel, and had sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Advocate-General S. Vijay Shankar on Tuesday submitted the Government's response before the Division Bench, comprising Justice Ajit J. Gunjal and Justice B.V. Nagarathna, which has been specially constituted to hear the petitions related to the March 2 incident after Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen recused himself from hearing these petitions.
Accused can't choose
Pointing out that the “accused have no say in directing the investigation or choosing the investigating agency”, the State government has stated that it is prepared to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) and hand over the cases pertaining to the incident to it or to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
While denying the allegation made in the petition that the Chief Minister, the Home Minister and the Principal Secretary had ordered lathi charge against the advocates “as they nursed hatred against advocates and the judiciary”, the Government termed the allegations as “baseless and unfortunate”.
“The allegation made by the advocates would destroy the social fabric and it exposes the objective behind making reckless and irresponsible allegations only to gainpolitical mileage,” theGovernment submitted while also terming as a “figment of imagination” the allegation that the assault on advocates on that day was the result of “a conspiracy between the media and the police”.
“It is no doubt true that black sheep are there in every group of society. The advocates, the police and the media are crucial in the justice delivery system in exposing the evil and giving voice to the underprivileged.
“One ugly incident should not mar the delicate balance,” the Government has contended.
While denying the allegations against Police Commissioner Jyotiprakash Mirji and the then Director-General and Inspector-General of Police Shankar M. Bidari, the Government stated that they had no ill-will against the advocates.
Contending that all steps had been taken to conduct fair and impartial investigation, the Government said that police personnel found guilty would be dealt with severely, while terming the incident as not the one to be handed over to the CBI as the crux of the allegations is that “only a few policemen” indulged in excesses and abused advocates.