The Bar Council of India on Sunday issued a show-cause notice to lawyer A.P Singh, who was defence counsel for two of the accused in the December 16, 2012 Delhi gang-rape case, for his reported remarks that he would have burnt alive his daughter had she been having premarital sex and moving around at night with her boyfriend.
At its meeting, the general council of the BCI, presided over by Chairman and Co-Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra and S. Prabakaran, decided to issue the notice after perusing a complaint received from Lok Kalyan Sanstha president Ajay Gowtham. The complainant alleged that by making unwarranted statements outside the court premises after the sentencing of his clients, he had committed professional misconduct under Section 35 of the Advocates Act. Mr. Singh had defended accused Akshay Thakur and Vinay Sharma in the recently concluded gang-rape trial.
After coming out of the trial court premises, in an apparent reference to the 23-year-old rape victim, Mr. Singh told the media in reply to a question, “... if my daughter was having premarital sex and moving around at night with her boyfriend, I would have burnt her alive. I would not have let this situation happen. All parents should adopt such an attitude.”
The derogatory comments were against dignity of women and their fundamental rights enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution for equal access to justice, Mr. Gowtham stated and urged the BCI to initiate action against the lawyer to create awareness among the public of such misconduct.
Speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Prabakaran said, “We have transferred to the BCI the matter which was pending before the Delhi Bar Council. We have issued a show-cause notice to Mr. Singh for him to respond. We are examining whether his comments would attract ‘professional misconduct’ within the meaning of Section 35 of the Advocates Act or it was mere reaction to a court judgment. If we find there is a prima facie case, we will proceed further and initiate action against him. It would depend on his reply.”
Mr. Singh had clarified that he had made the remarks under pressure from an individual, whom he described as an “anti-social element.”