The Karnataka High Court on 20th February, 2020 directed the Hubli commissioner to provide police protection to those advocates who wishes to represent the Kashmiri students who are currently facing sedition charges.
The three students of KLE Institute of Karnataka, who are hailing from Sophian, Kashmir, are now facing sedition charges. On 14th February, 2020, the students have allegedly recorded a selfie video raising pro-Pakistan slogans marking the 1st year anniversary of Pulwama Terror Attack and have forwarded the same in the WhatsApp which later on went viral in the social media. As the principal of the institute became aware of the same, he filed a complaint against the three students with the Gokul Police station. Subsequently the police have arrested the students and filed FIR against them under the provisions of IPC related to the crime of sedition and affecting communal harmony.
After conducting preliminary investigation, the police had released them on Saturday after executing a bond under section 169 of Cr.P.C. which imposes a condition on them to appear before the police as and when required. As the right wing activists staged protest outside the Gokul Police station on Monday, the police re-arrested the three Kashmiri students and produced them before the Judicial Magistrate I Class, wherein the court has ordered Judicial Custody until March 2.
Meanwhile on 15th February, 2020, Hubli Bar Association had passed a resolution restraining the advocates of the said association to file vakalatnama on behalf of the three students who are charged for sedition. The same was also communicated to the President of Karnataka Bar Association. Challenging the said resolution a group of 24 advocates have filed a writ petition before the Karnataka High Court.
The petitioners contended that such resolution amounts to denial of the fundamental rights of the accused to have access to the legal aid. They further contended that the accused were not represented by an advocate when produced before the Judicial Magistrate Hubli. Affidavits were filed before the court wherein a group of Advocates volunteered to appear on behalf of the students.
1. The court remarked that considering the nature of application, it is necessary to provide police protection to the advocates who wish to appear on behalf of the students who are currently facing sedition charges.
2. The court observed that it is the duty of the police to ensure that the accused are adequately represented, failing which it amounts to violation of fundamental rights of the accused.
3. The court directed the advocates who wish to appear or file bail application on behalf of the three students have to give prior intimation to the police in writing. On receiving such intimation, the police should ensure that those advocates are provided adequate security.
4. The court also directed the police should provide security the advocates from the entry into town of Hubbali to the court room until their completion of arguments with regard to the bail application.
On dealing with the legality of the resolution passed by the bar council, the court remarked that the bar is bound to follow the constitutional mandate and the professional ethics. It directed the Bar association to reconsider its resolution failing which the court would be forced to examine the legality of the resolution passed. The petitionis further posted on 3rd March, 2020 under the caption “orders”.
Edited by J. Madonna Jephi
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje
1. P.No. 4095 of 2020, The Karnataka High Court, order dated 20/02/2020.
2. Live Law, ‘Hubli Bar Resolution to Be Deprecated’: Karnataka HC orders police protection to advocates Representing Kashmiri Students Booked for Sedition, https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.livelaw.in/amp/news-updates/karnataka-hc-orders-police-protection-to-advocates-representing-kashmiri-students-booked-for-sedition-152973(last visited on 21st February, 2020).