We are helping detainees as it is our duty, say lawyers


Collective consciousness made them come out in large numbers

Many of the lawyers who had gathered at Daryaganj police station last week to help people detained during protests against the amended Citizenship Act, said they had gone as it was their duty as an officer of the court of law.

The lawyers stayed on the sidelines of protest sites and kept a lookout for any human rights violations. The names and numbers of the lawyers who were helping detainees pro bono (without charge), were shared on WhatsApp groups and other social media platform so that people could have easy access to them.

Advocate Mishika Singh said she and other lawyers had gone to the Daryaganj police station after the anti-CAA protests. “We were there to give the detainees legal counsel. Initially, the police were not allowing us to meet the detainees,” said Ms. Mishika.

She and other lawyers had to move applications before the magistrate courts in Tis Hazari and Karkardooma so that they would be allowed to meet the detainees.

“Their families were calling us…We had to ensure that after their arrest, the detainees were taken for a medical check-up to see if they had suffered any injuries. We also had to ensure that no minors were put in jail,” Ms. Mishika said.

Most of the lawyers, including Ms. Mishika, have come out in their individual capacity.

50 lawyers offered help

“The detainees do not come from affluent social backgrounds... We are working on our own expenses,” she said, adding that around 50 lawyers had come together to help the detainees.

Advocate Tara, who was helping detainees at the Tis Hazari Courts, said it was their “collective consciousness” that made them come out in large numbers.

“Any detained person has a right to a lawyer. Besides, I feel that the right to peaceful protest is sacrosanct. In numerous judgments, the Supreme Court has held the right to protest as a fundamental right under the Constitution,” she added.

Ms. Tara, however, said that criminality should not be condoned, including violence during protests.

Advocate Paritosh Dhawan, who is also helping the detainees, said he was against the CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) as they were against the Constitution. Mr. Dhawan said a few of his friends were detained during a protest last week, however, they were released before he arrived at the spot.

“I am available 24 hours for anyone seeking help,” Mr. Dhawan said.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 1:03:18 PM |

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