Child rights activist P.P. Baburaj, who is among the advocates seeking to represent Nalini Balakumar in the sedition case, has been suspended by the Mysuru Advocates’ Association.
Though the association’s decision was put up on its notice board in the Mysuru court complex, Mr. Baburaj, a former member of the Juvenile Justice Board, claimed he had not been informed the reason for it.
Mr. Baburaj had been summoned by the association’s office-bearers and questioned over video recording proceedings of the association’s general body meeting on Monday when it was discussing a demand for review of the resolution against appearing for persons accused in the sedition case.
‘Mobile phone checked’
“Though more than 165 advocates signed the Vakalathnama to appear for Ms. Balakumar, I was the only one summoned and grilled by three office-bearers in the presence of more than 30 other advocates,” he said. Mr. Baburaj said his mobile phone was also checked for video or audio recording of the proceedings.
Mr. Baburaj had not only signed the ‘Vakalathnama’ along with the others to appear for Ms. Balakumar, but was also one of the several signatories to the representation made to the association to review its resolution against appearing for persons accused of sedition.
“When I was summoned for questioning by the office-bearers of the association, I was threatened by several other advocates, who were not office-bearers, of dire circumstances for my ideology,” he said.
Mr. Baburaj’s suspension will not curtail his professional practice, but will deprive him of the facilities extended by the association.
Mr. Baburaj told The Hindu that he would contest the association’s decision before the State Bar council.
Meanwhile, the association had also set 5 p.m. on Wednesday as the deadline for the advocates, who had defied the resolution and signed the ‘Vakalathnama’ for Ms. Balakumar, to withdraw from the case.
Referring to claims that these advocates had been misled, Mr. Baburaj said the paper used for collecting signatures to press for review of the association’s resolution was white in colour while the ‘Vakalathnama’ was signed on a light green paper.
Meanwhile, Raghunath, who is counsel for Maridevaiah, president of University of Mysore’s Research Scholars’ Association, booked as an accused by the city police in the sedition case, said he would appear for his client when the case came up for hearing on January 24.
On the association’s deadline, Mr. Raghunath said advocates, if they wished to retire, could do so only when it came up for hearing in the court.
Bid to assault me: Manjula
Former chairperson of Karnataka State Women’s Commission Manjula Manasa has lodged a complaint before the Mysuru Advocates’ Association against an alleged attempt to assault her.
Ms. Manjula Manasa, also an advocate, said she was targeted by some advocates over the issue of representing Ms. Balakumar, an accused in the sedition case.
“The advocates not only used filthy language against me, but also tried to assault me,” she said.
“If I do not receive justice, I will lodge a police complaint,” she said, adding that she had given the association time till Thursday for taking action.