Karnataka

Conduct of advocates on Dharwad court premises ‘sheer militancy’: HC

A February 24 photo of members of the Dharwad Bar Association staging a protest outside the district court in Dharwad.

A February 24 photo of members of the Dharwad Bar Association staging a protest outside the district court in Dharwad.  

Court accepts A-G offer to resolve issue on Bar association’s resolution to not represent Kashmiri students

The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday described as “sheer militancy” the conduct of members of the Dharwad Bar Association (DBA) on the Dharwad court premises on February 24 when advocates from Bengaluru went there to file applications for bail on behalf of three Kashmir students, and accepted the Advocate-General’s request to allow him to resolve the issue.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar made these oral observations during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition filed by 24 Bengaluru-based advocates, who had questioned the legality of a resolution passed by the Hubballi Bar Association (HBA) asking its members not to represent the Kashmiri students who are accused of raising pro-Pakistan slogans.

‘Not good for institution’

The Bench said the conduct of the advocates on the Dharwad court premises was “not good for the institution of judiciary” while pointing out that even Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani terrorist who was among the ten who attacked Mumbai on November 26, 2008, was given a fair trial in this country by providing him service of a good lawyer to defend himself.

The members of the DBA had “heckled” the advocates from Bengaluru, owing to which they had to return without filling applications for bail on behalf of the accused students.

To say mildly, the Bench said, the conduct of advocates on the Dharwad court premises was “sheer militancy”. The Bench indicated that it would transfer the case to a court in Bengaluru so that it becomes a lesson to the Bar associations that pass such “illegal” resolutions.

The Bench is “not bothered about the outcome of the bail applications to be filed on behalf of the arrested students”, but the accused persons should not be deprived of their right to appoint lawyers of their choice, the court observed. During earlier hearing, the Bench had pointed out that the resolution passed by the HBA is contrary to the law laid down by the apex court and may amount to criminal contempt of court.

Talks with advocates

At this stage, A-G Prabhuling K. Navadgi intervened and said he held a round of talks over the telephone with office-bearers of the Bar association on Wednesday and expressed confidence that further talks with them would help in resolving the issue.

“We welcome the intervention by the A-G and hope that the issue will be resolved here,” the Bench said while adjourning the hearing till Thursday and asking the A-G to ask the Bar association office-bearers to be personally present in the court.

Earlier, the counsel of the petitioners pointed out that the police provided adequate security as per the court’s earlier directions.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 1:48:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/conduct-of-advocates-on-dharwad-court-premises-sheer-militancy-hc/article30926356.ece

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