In a major reprieve for advocate Abbas Kazmi, who defended lone surviving terrorist Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the Bombay high court on Wednesday expunged remarks made by the 26/11 special trial court while removing the 57-year-old lawyer from the case.
A division bench of justice Abhay Oak and justice Shirhari Davare on Wednesday expunged the remarks, but dismissed a contempt of court petition filed by the lawyer against the special court judge, ML Tahliyani.
The special court had appointed Kazmi to defend Kasab, a Pakistani national. However, on November 30, 2009, the court sacked him and passed strong remarks in its order. “Kazmi has developed a feeling that he is indispensable and that without him the court cannot work and that the trial cannot be completed without his contribution,” was one of the comments passed by the special court in its order.
“In my view this feeling is necessary to be erased immediately and there is no point in continuing Mr Kazmi,” the special court had said while removing the lawyer and ordered him to handover all the documents to advocate KP Pawar, who replaced him.
A few months later, Kazmi approached the high court claiming the remarks were unjustified and totally uncalled. He claimed that the comments had a reflection on his professional competence and integrity.
The high court accepted his contentions, but rejected his plea for proceeding on the contempt proceedings against the judge saying it was not maintainable.
Kazmi was not the first advocate to defend the Lashkar-e-Taiba operative presently lodged in Arthur Road Prison. Prior to him, advocate Anjali Waghmare was appointed by the special court to defend Kasab.