Lowering the Bar

When the five-member Bar Council of India team decided to visit J&K to submit a factual report on the case of the rape of a minor girl after seeking time from the Supreme Court, there was hope that it would objectively assess and report the situation and add its powerful voice to the demand for justice to the rape and murder of the eight year old Kathua girl. The fact-finding team had former BCI chief Tarun Agarwal, BCI co-chairmen S Prabakaran and Ramachandra G Shah, and members Razia Beig of the Bar Council of Uttarakhand and Naresh Dikshit, an advocate. The team met lawyers in Kathua, who had held protests  and observed a bandh in favour of the CBI probe into the horrible crime. The team also visited Rasana and met the agitating people of the area, who also demand a CBI probe into the incident. But all that their report ended up saying was not only to also call for the CBI probe which was not its job but also deny that the Kathua Bar had obstructed the filing of the charge sheet against the accused by the Crime Branch. The team  also said that the advocate Deepika Singh Rajawat, who is representing the victim’s family, was not prevented or threatened by the lawyers’ body from appearing in the matter.It has also alleged that the media had “misrepresented” the reports. What is more, the BCI also questioned the credibility of the activist Talib Hussain. Hussain, a social activist from Bakerwal community, has been leading protests from the front seeking justice for the Kathua girl after her  body was found on January 17 in Rassana  forest.

This is a troubling turn of events to put it mildly. By making the assessment that it has, the BCI has gone against the  facts on the ground. They even ignored the statement earlier issued by the Kathua Bar Association president Advocate Kirty  Bhushan Mahajan wherein he admitted that they had prevented the Crime Branch from filing charge-sheet. “All the members of the Bar have strongly agitated against the presentation of the Challan by the Crime Branch in the Rasana Case,” Bhushan had said in the statement. Similarly, even the  Principal District and Sessions Judge Kathua, had submitted to Registrar General of the High Court that officials of  the Crime Branch had to beat a hasty retreat when they had come to present charge-sheet against the accused “after protests and sloganeering by lawyers”. But such and other proofs have been wilfully ignored by the BCI in its brazen support for the Jammu Bar and their demand for the CBI probe. Why? The answer to this question is embarrassingly obvious. One can’t help but put it down to the BCI partiality towards Jammu Bar for the same reason that a section of the population in the province is in favour of the accused. However, the BCI’s position has done a bigger harm to the cause of the justice for the eight year old victim by once again shifting the attention back to the defence of the accused.  

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