Hubballi Sedition: Kashmiri Students’ Judicial Custody Extended

The K’taka HC had earlier called the heckling of advocates of Kashmiri students by Dharwad lawyers ‘sheer militancy’

Updated
India
3 min read
Lawyers who had gone to the Dharwad sessions court were allegedly roughed up, when they went to file the bail application for the three  Kashmiri students.
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The judicial custody of the three Kashmiri students charged with sedition was extended till 7 March by a Hubballi court which on Monday, 2 March, heard the objections to the bail plea.

The Hubli bar association had on Thursday, 27 February, withdrawn the resolution passed that no advocate should appear for the 3 Kashmiri booked for sedition in Hubballi, ANI reported.

“Advocates who wish to appear for the accused can approach Dharwad District Court to file bail plea for them,” said the bar association. The HC reportedly orally ‘observed that the Hubli Bar Association resolution was the root cause that led to lawyers protesting and agitating.’

The HC on Wednesday stated that passing such resolutions would affect the image of the entire judiciary.

Lawyers from Bengaluru, Hubballi and Dharwad, who had gone to the Dharwad sessions court to file the bail application for the three Kashmiri students in custody on charges of sedition, had allegedly been roughed up on Monday, 24 February.

Two dozen lawyers had challenged the resolution which was passed by Hubli bar association to not represent the students in the Karnataka HC, for which the court had passed specific orders on ensuring protection of advocates while visiting the accused, filing bail plea etc.

Chants of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘we want justice’ could be heard in the background of several videos from the Dharwad court that showed chaos between local advocates and the accused’s lawyers. As per high court orders, the team of defense lawyers was accompanied by a contingent of cops, who ensured they were escorted safely, senior advocate BT Venkatesh told The Quint.

While dealing with the petition, the HC on Wednesday stated that passing such resolutions would affect the image of the entire judiciary. Advocate General Prabhuling Navadgi submitted that the Hubli bar association would reconsider its resolution.

‘Sheer Militancy’: HC on Advocates Not Being Allowed to File Bail Applications

According to a report in Bar and Bench, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Hemant Chandangoudar stated that, "What will be the image of the institution of Judiciary? We say we don't hold kangaroo courts. Even Ajmal Kasab was given a full trial. The Supreme Court had appointed senior advocates to represent him in his case."

Calling the denial of legal aid ‘sheer militancy’, Chief Justice Oka said that the only option before the court would be to transfer the case to Bengaluru, adding that bar associations should keep in mind that cases could be transferred out of their jurisdictions if they passed such resolutions.

‘Advocates Mobbed, Mandhandled’

Mohammed Miyaz, a member of the team of advocates representing the students, recounted the events in a video that was shared on social media.

“Friends, we had come to file bail petition in the Hubballi case. First we filed the copy application in the Hubballi court. There too, there was some sloganeering of ‘Vande Mataram’ in front of us. But the police provided us with a lot of security and took us to where we had to file the copy application,” he said.

Miyaz added that they received the copy of the application after 20 minutes, following which the readied the bail petition. They then met with lawyers of the Hubballi bar association, who, he said, had spoken to them in a cordial manner.

“They also asked us to withdraw our writ petition. We told them that we would do so if they took back the resolution they had passed. Then, we went to Dharwad sessions court. The local advocates had mobbed the court entrance, didn’t allow us to enter, and even manhandled us,” he said.

“But, we were there with police protection and were following all the procedures,” he further said.

Several videos from the Dharwad sessions court show local lawyers raising slogans and occupying the steps leading to the court house.

A representative, claiming to be from the Young Advocates Forum, said in a video that any attempt to represent the Kashmiri students in court would not be tolerated by the organisation.

‘Don’t Represent Kashmiri Students’: Young Advocates Forum

“On the anniversary of the Pulwama attack, when the entire nation was in mourning, students from Jammu and Kashmir, in Hubballi were celebrating the attack and chanting anti-national slogans like ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ that would offend any patriot,” the purported forum member said.

“Thus, we the Young Advocates Forum, appeal to all lawyers not to represent them. If, our request is not honoured and our patriotic sentiments are opposed, then we will not tolerate it,” he added.

(With inputs from Bar and Bench)

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