Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Vikram Hegde and the unrepresented terrorists

Long long ago when I was newly sprouting a moustache and blogging was the latest thing to do, some resident Freud for ToI had opined that blogging is a way out of a sense of utter under achievement for many bloggers. The interesting thing about such an admission is that it is cool only if it comes from people who aren't underachievers and therefore I shall not deem myself fit to say it.

I won't say that I have done nothing in life. But then the other day I picked up a blank piece of paper and decided to put down all my achievements and the paper remained blank at the end of it.

My angst is coming six or seven years too late. Excused, because I don't place myself above a normal teen mentally or emotionally.

But what I signed in to write today is about something that happened almost a year ago in Mysore. Two terrorists of Al Badr or some such outfit were arrested and were apparently plotting to blow up vital and sensitive installations in Bangalore and Mysore. In the aftermath of these arrests, lawyers speaking for the Mysore Bar Association said that they would not represent the accused and would not allow any lawyers from outside to represent them either. This shadiness by people from my home town did shock me, but unable to really do anything about it, I had simply filed it away in some folder in the back of my mind.

I retrieved this folder recently when, from discussions with the holder of the NIHR chair, ThaLaivi came up with a plan for LSC that we should find an issue and file a PIL. Normally I have "policy issues" about first deciding that one should file a PIL and then going about finding an issue but the functioning of sycophancy is such that I automatically began searching for PILable issues. This seems to me to be a great opportunity to exercise our legal muscle and also actually bring about some respect for the legal process.

The aim of the PIL would be to prevent Bar associations from hijacking the operation of the law. What is at stake here is not just the rights of Mohommed Fahad under the Cr.P.C and Constitution but we (the legal profession, not sure if I can already claim to be part of that) are also at risk of losing standards of behavior and codes of ethics.

I shall also at this point provide you a good excuse to navigate away from this increasingly boring page. You can check out Ram Jethmalani ko gussa kyo aatha hai ? by my fellow Mysorean Mr. Girish Nikam.


Red said...

I am not sure how PILable the issue is, but its a great issue and goes into the heart of what the liberal legal profession is supposed to be. I remember telling professor Nagaraj in the ADR class that I would not represent a child molestor and he said that I was a disgrace to the profession. :-) Salman Khursheed had a pretty decent oped explaining his decision to defend SIMI members accused of terrorism.

Björn Borg said...

You just inspired a post on my blog. :)

vikramhegde said...

I realize I didn't explain myself fully in the post. The proposed PIL (which is not even in the pipeline right now) is not intended to stop the Bar Associations from stopping lawyers from representing terrorists but rather to get the Legal Services Authority or whoever to appoint lawyers who will represent them.

Mr.H said...

PIL, IPL...keli keli saakaagi bittide...the first one is all over the newspapers all the time...the second one is clogging prime time television....after K-series of dumb crap....its IPL...when will people start broadcasting more BQCs and Nat Geo Genius-like shows?

Its time for a PIL against IPL.

vikramhegde said...

Ha ha... Or we should have a PIL IPL team with MC Mehta as Ikon player. I'm sure they won't fare much worse than the Bangalore RCs...

Mr.H said...

But dont forget...there's a corporate side to it King Phisher would say..

You wuz here