No guidelines for lawyers defending terror accused: Apex court

November 7th, 2008 - 11:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) The apex court Friday refused to frame any guidelines for lawyers who defend terror attack accused and face opposition from their fraternity.However, the court allowed the advocates to amend their petition so that their plea for protection and the right to appear in courts for defending such accused could be guaranteed.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves told the court that some policy should be laid down by the Bar Council of India (BCI) to handle such a situation where advocates are forced by their own fraternity not to appear in criminal cases. The apex court said such directions cannot be passed to a statutory body like the BCI.

“How can this sort of a prayer be entertained? BCI is a statutory body. How can this court issue mandamus for BCI?” a Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice C. K. Thakker said.

The public interest petition alleged that the State Bar Associations and other lawyers’ organisations in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra had passed resolutions that members of the bar would not defend the accused in terror cases, particularly those involved in serial blasts.

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