The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from Bar Council of India (BCI) on the plea for laying down guidelines for protecting the rights of lawyers to defend accused in terror attacks.
The apex court also issued notices to the Bar Associations of Uttar Pardesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan where resolutions were passed not to defend the accused of recent terrorist acts.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan was hearing a PIL alleging that State Bar Associations and other lawyers' bodies in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra have passed resolutions that members of the bar would not defend the accused in terror cases, particularly those involved in last year's serial blasts cases.
Four advocates -- Mohd Shuaib from Lucknow, Zamal Ahmed from Faizabad, Noor Ahmed from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh and Surender C Gadling from Maharashtra -- had alleged that not only illegal resolutions were passed by their respective Bar but they were forced to withdraw their vakalatnama for defending the serial blast accused.
They alleged they were manhandled by other advocates when they appeared in the court to defend some blast case accused.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves appearing for the advocates said it was necessary for the BCI to come up with guidelines on the issue.
The Bench, also comprising Justice P Sathasivan was in agreement with him that BCI can come out with some guidelines.
Gonsalves had earlier said that complaints made to the BCI and the police have not yielded any result, forcing the advocates to approach the apex court seeking a direction for the BCI to come out with a comprehensive code of conduct to deal with the rights of advocates on their right to appear and defend accused in terror-related cases.