Legal aid counsels should be present for hearings: HC | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Legal aid counsels should be present for hearings: HC

The Bombay high court ruled that legal aid lawyers representing an accused could not remain absent for court hearings as it will hamper the case.

mumbai Updated: Jan 31, 2012 01:46 IST
Mohan K Korappath

The Bombay high court ruled that legal aid lawyers representing an accused could not remain absent for court hearings as it will hamper the case.

The court recently directed the Legal Services Authority to instruct all lawyers concerned to ensure that the accused being provided legal aid in jail should always be represented before the court.

The direction came in an appeal filed by Mohammed Imamali Khan, 24, who was sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of Rs3,000 by a trial court after he severely injured a man with a chopper.

During the hearing of the appeal, Khan’s advocate Arfan Sait relied on a Supreme Court judgment and argued that the trial judge should have ensured that the accused exercised his right of meaningfully cross examining material witnesses through competent lawyer.

Sait pointed out that Khan had spent over seven years in prison including remissions, along with his five years of actual imprisonment.

Justice RC Chavan noted that there was no doubt that though the counsel assigned to represent Khan had failed to appear and cross-examine material witnesses or recall these witnesses, the judge could have ensured a fair trial. The court reduced Khan’s sentence to seven years along with a fine of Rs 25,000.