3:44 am - Thursday November 5, 2015

Bar Council issues notice to Dec 16 gang rape convict lawyers

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The Bar Council of India (BCI) late Friday night issued show cause notices to two lawyers who had appeared for the accused in the December 16 gangrape case for allegedly making derogatory anti-women remarks.

According to PTI, BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra said, “We have issued the show cause notices to M L Sharma and A P Singh for their alleged remarks made in the (BBC)documentary.”

The lawyers’ apex body took the decision around midnight after its executive committee meeting in which it was found that there is a “prima facie” case of professional misconduct against these lawyers.

The notices have been issued under a provision of the advocates act and their licences to practice may be cancelled if BCI is not satisfied with their response.

Meanwhile, advocate M L Sharma refuted the charge, saying he has said nothing wrong to anybody and claimed he had not received any notice.

The defence counsel said on Saturday that he did not receive any show cause notice from the BCI for his “outrageous” comments in a controversial documentary based on the ghastly case that shook the nation.

“We have not got the notice from the Bar Council of India as yet,” ML Sharma, the lawyer of death row inmate Mukesh Singh, told ANI.

The controversial BBC documentary on the gang rape, titled ‘India’s Daughter, includes a controversial interview with Mukesh Singh, one of the convicts in the case in which a 23-year-old paramedical student was brutally gang-raped by six men on December 16, 2012. The convict blamed the woman for the incident since she was returning late.

Also in the same doucmentary, M L Sharma reportedly said such incidents of rape are bound to happen if girls go out without proper security.

India has imposed a ban on the documentary. But BBC telecast it late Wednesday night (IST) on one of its channels.

Sharma added those people who had watched the documentary and spread the word about it were in contempt of the court, as there was a ban on the documentary.

“They have violated the court order. I have only spoken for the safety and security of women. Ladies should be protected from society. Fighting for a female is not crime. I will fight for the rights of women. We should respect our courts,” he said.

On social media, the lawyers’ comments in the film triggered a massive outpouring of criticism and demands for punishment, with fellow lawyers calling for a revocation of their licenses.

Sharma claimed his comments were misconstrued and misrepresented, and alleged that film-maker Udwin used only a part of what he said.

“She (Udwin) took my interview for 10 days, showed only one line,” he was quoted as saying by a television channel.

The other lawyer, AK Singh, claimed people who were opposed to him were “biased”. He said he had received support calls from many people.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday said the Nirbhaya documentary is not in the interest of the country and added that the government’s move in this regard is aimed at protecting and ensuring that the sensibilities of women in this country are paramount.

BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao, however, refused to comment on the Bar Council issuing notices to the defence lawyers for their remarks in the Nirbhaya documentary.

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