While the Bar Council and Association are reluctant to take a stand on the issue, the Delhi government’s Senior Standing Counsel (Criminal) Rahul Mehra, also condemned the raid
NEW DELHI — After the Delhi Police special cell searched the office of well-known lawyer Mahmood Pracha on Thursday, prominent lawyers and Delhi riots victims who were helped by him, condemned the raid with the legal experts terming it as ‘an attack on the attorney client-privilege’.
Many prominent voices among the Supreme Court advocates like Indira Jaising and Prashant Bhushan came out to denounce the police action against Pracha, who is representing the victims of Delhi riots in many cases.
“The raid on Mahmood Pracha, lawyer for the defence in the Delhi riots case, is a direct attack on the fundamental right of the right to legal representation; all lawyers must condemn this attack,” said human rights lawyer Indira Jaising.
The raids on Mahmood Pracha Lawyer for the defence in the Delhi riots case is a direct attack on the fundamental right of the right to legal representation , all lawyers must condemn this attack
— Indira Jaising (@IJaising) December 24, 2020
Lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan said, “First, they came for activists; then they came for students; then they came for farmers; now they are coming for their lawyers; Next, they will come for you. Will you call this a Democracy? We will all have to fight this together”.
First they came for activists; then they came for students; then they came for farmers; now they are coming for their lawyers; Next, they will come for you.
Will you call this a Democracy?
We will all have to fight this together. https://t.co/ZggkHS3uyk
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) December 24, 2020
Another prominent Supreme Court lawyer Karuna Nandy said, “By seizing Adv Mahmood Pracha’s computers for particular emails, police will get a lot of data that’s protected by attorney-client privilege. This goes to the heart of rule of law. Lawyers must stand up for Adv Pracha as much as for Adv P. Bhushan”.
By seizing Adv Mehmood Pracha's computers for particular emails, police will get a lot of data that's protected by attorney client privilege. This goes to the heart of rule of law. Lawyers must stand up for Adv Pracha as much as for Adv P. Bhushan. https://t.co/t9YHTIwNDh
— Karuna Nundy (@karunanundy) December 24, 2020
While the Bar Council and Association are reluctant to take a stand on the issue, the Delhi government’s Senior Standing Counsel (Criminal) Rahul Mehra, also condemned the raid.
Calling it ‘arbitrary harassment’, Congress leader Manoj Tiwari, who is himself a lawyer, urged the Bar Council to take up the issue.
Some clients of Pracha, who is fighting their cases related to the Delhi riots, held a press conference in Delhi after the raid. They said the Delhi Police had pressured them in the past to drop Pracha as their lawyer and withdraw their complaints.
Mohammad Nasir Khan, a businessman who lives in Gonda, said that he lost his left eye to a bullet wound on February 24 and his complaint was filed only after Pracha’s intervention. He said he had been told by the police to drop Pracha as his lawyer. Sahil Parvez, who also lives in Gonda, said Pracha had helped him file an FIR in connection with his father’s murder. He said he, too, faced similar pressure from the police.
The Delhi Police, in a statement, said the searches were conducted in connection with an investigation into the alleged use of documents “containing false/fabricated evidence” and “a forged notary stamp before a Hon’ble Court” during a bail proceeding.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind condemns police raid
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) condemned the raid by the Delhi Police (Special Cell) at the office of Advocate Mahmood Pracha on Saturday.
In a media statement, the JIH Vice President – Prof Salim Engineer said: “Advocate Pracha has been fighting cases for many victims of the North East Delhi riots and those unjustly arrested for their role in the anti-CAA protests. The raids appear to be an act of vengeance and intimidation. There is a visible pattern in the recent arrests by the Delhi Police. It appears as if the police want to send a message that those who take up cudgels on behalf of victims of injustice and police high-handedness will have to face inquiries, raids and arrest.”
Expressing concern over the ‘raid-culture’ by the government agencies, the JIH Vice President said: “The government is misusing various agencies to intimidate those who oppose its policies and actions. Our Constitution has enjoined the law-enforcement agencies and the government institutions to be independent and free from executive control. However, recent events show that these constitutional norms are being disregarded. Many senior lawyers have condemned the raid and called it a violation of the rule of law. The Jamaat hopes all justice-loving people will also condemn the raid on Advocate Pracha and the police will refrain from further arbitrary harassment.”