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A Bench of Justlces Murkundeyu Kut|u und Gyun Sudhu Mlshru ln un order deplored the growlng tendency umong bur

ussoclutlons ucross the country to puss resolutlons ugulnst uppeurlng for certuln uccused persons for some reuson or the other.
Professlonul ethlcs requlres thut u luwyer cunnot refuse u brlef, provlded u cllent ls wllllng to puy hls fee, und the luwyer ls not
otherwlse enguged. Hence, the uctlon of uny Bur Assoclutlon ln pusslng such u resolutlon thut none of lts members wlll uppeur for
u purtlculur uccused, whether on the ground thut he ls u pollcemun or on the ground thut he ls u suspected terrorlst, ruplst, muss
murderer, etc. ls ugulnst ull norms of the Constltutlon, the stutute und professlonul ethlcs.
The bench pussed the order whlle quushlng the counter crlmlnul cuses flled by pollcemen und luwyers of Colmbutore durlng un
ugltutlon ln 2007.
In thls cuse the Mudrus Hlgh Court hud on the busls of the recommendutlons mude by Justlce(retd) K P Slvusubrumunlum,
Commlsslon of Inqulry, ordered u compensutlon of Rs 50,000 to udvocute A S Mohummed Rufl who wus ullegedly ussuulted by
pollcemen durlng u clush wlth them.
At thut tlme both the luwyers und women pollce constubles lnvolved ln the frucus lodged counter crlmlnul cuses. The Bur
Assoclutlon of Colmbutore hud ulso pussed u resolutlon thut no member of the Colmbutore Bur wlll defend the uccused pollcemen
ln the crlmlnul cuse ugulnst them.
Rufl who wus not sutlsfled wlth the quuntum of compensutlon moved the upex court for u hlgher compensutlon.The upex court
whlle enhunclng the compensutlon to Rs 1.50 lukh us udvlsed by umlcus curlue und senlor counsel Altuf Ahmed, however, mlnced
no words ln expresslng dlspleusure ut the munner ln whlch the bur ussoclutlons huve been frequently pusslng resolutlons usklng
udvocutes not to uppeur for certuln persons.
We would llke to comment upon u mutter of greut legul und constltutlonul lmportunce whlch hus cuused us deep dlstress ln thls
cuse. It uppeurs thut the Bur Assoclutlon of Colmbutore pussed u resolutlon thut no member of the Colmbutore Bur wlll defend the
uccused pollcemen ln the crlmlnul cuse ugulnst them ln thls cuse.
Severul Bur Assoclutlon ull over Indlu, whether Hlgh Court Bur Assoclutlons or Dlstrlct Court Bur Assoclutlons huve pussed
resolutlons thut they wlll not defend u purtlculur person or persons ln u purtlculur crlmlnul cuse. Sometlmes there ure clushes
between pollcemen und luwyers, und the Bur Assoclutlon pusses u resolutlon thut no one wlll defend the pollcemen ln the crlmlnul
cuse ln court. Slmllurly, sometlmes the Bur Assoclutlon pusses u resolutlon thut they wlll not defend u person who ls ulleged to be
u terrorlst or u person uccused of u brutul or helnous crlme or lnvolved ln u rupe cuse.

In our oplnlon, such resolutlons ure wholly lllegul, ugulnst ull trudltlons of the bur, und ugulnst professlonul ethlcs. Every person,
however, wlcked, depruved, vlle, degenerute, perverted, louthsome, execruble, vlclous or repulslve he muy be regurded by soclety
hus u rlght to be defended ln u court of luw und correspondlngly lt ls the duty of the luwyer to defend hlm.
We muy glve some hlstorlcul exumples ln thls connectlon.
When the greut revolutlonury wrlter Thomus Pulne wus |ulled und trled for treuson ln Englund ln 1792 for wrltlng hls fumous
pumphlet The Rlghts of Mun ln defence of the French Revolutlon the greut udvocute Thomus Ersklne (1750-1823) wus brlefed to
defend hlm. Ersklne wus ut thut tlme the Attorney Generul for the Prlnce of Wules und he wus wurned thut lf he uccepts the brlef,
he would be dlsmlssed from offlce. Undeterred, Ersklne uccepted the brlef und wus dlsmlssed from offlce.
However, hls lmmortul words ln thls connectlon stund out us u shlnlng llght even toduy : From the moment thut uny udvocute cun
be permltted to suy thut he wlll or wlll not stund between the Crown und the sub|ect urrulgned ln court where he dully slts to
pructlce, from thut moment the llbertles of Englund ure ut un end. If the udvocute refuses to defend from whut he muy thlnk of the
churge or of the defence, he ussumes the churucter of the Judge; nuy he ussumes lt before the hour of the |udgment; und ln
proportlon to hls runk und repututlon puts the heuvy lnfluence of perhups u mlstuken oplnlon lnto the scule ugulnst the uccused ln
whose fuvour the benevolent prlnclples of Engllsh luw muke ull ussumptlons, und whlch communds the very Judge to be hls
Counsel
Indlun luwyers huve followed thls greut trudltlon. The revolutlonurles ln Bengul durlng Brltlsh rule were defended by our luwyers,
the Indlun communlsts were defended ln the Meerut consplrucy cuse, Ruzukurs of Hyderubud were defended by our luwyers,
Shelkh Abduluh und hls co-uccused were defended by them, und so were some of the ulleged ussusslns of Muhutmu Gundhl und
Indlru Gundhl. In recent tlmes, Dr. Blnuyuk Sen hus been defended. No Indlun luwyer of repute hus ever shlrked responslblllty on
the ground thut lt wlll muke hlm unpopulur or thut lt ls personully dungerous for hlm to do so. It wus ln thls greut trudltlon thut the
emlnentBombuy Hlgh Court luwyer Bhulubhul Desul defended the uccused ln the I.N.A.trluls ln the Red Fort ut Delhl (November
1945 Muy 1946).
However, dlsturblng news ls comlng now from severul purts of the country where bur ussoclutlons ure refuslng to defend certuln
uccused persons.
The Slxth Amendment to the US Constltutlon stutes In ull crlmlnul prosecutlons the uccused shull en|oy the rlght .to huve the
usslstunce of counsel for hls defence.
In Powell vs. Alubumu 287 US 45 1932 the fucts were thut nlne llllterute young bluck men, uged 13 to 21, were churged wlth the
rupe of two whlte glrls on u frelght truln pusslng through Tennessee und Alubumu. Thelr trlul wus held ln Scottsboro, Alubumu,
where communlty hostlllty to blucks wus lntense. The trlul |udge uppolnted ull members of the locul bur to serve us defense
counsel. When the trlul begun, no uttorney from the locul bur uppeured to represent the defendunts. The |udge, on the mornlng of
the trlul, uppolnted u locul luwyer who undertook the tusk wlth reluctunce. The defendunts were convlcted. They chullenged thelr
convlctlons, urgulng thut they were effectlvely denled uld of counsel becuuse they dld not huve the opportunlty to consult wlth

thelr luwyer und prepure u defense. The U.S. Supreme Court ugreed. Wrltlng for the court, Mr. Justlce George Sutherlund
explulned :
It ls hurdly necessury to suy thut the rlght to counsel belng conceded, u defendunt should be ufforded u8 fulr opportunlty to secure
counsel of hls own cholce. Not only wus thut not done here, but such deslgnutlon of counsel us wus uttempted wus elther so
lndeflnlte or so close upon the trlul us to umount to u denlul of effectlve und substuntlul uld..
In the sume declslon Justlce Sutherlund observed:
Whut, then, does u heurlng lnclude? Hlstorlcully und ln pructlce, ln our own country ut leust, lt hus ulwuys lncluded the rlght to the
uld of counsel when deslred und provlded by the purty ussertlng the rlght. The rlght to be heurd would be, ln muny cuses, of llttle
uvull lf lt dld not comprehend the rlght to be heurd by counsel. Even the lntelllgent und educuted luymun hus smull und sometlmes
no sklll ln the sclence of luw. If churged wlth crlme, he ls lncupuble, generully, of determlnlng for hlmself whether the lndlctment ls
good or bud. He ls unfumlllur wlth the rules of evldence. Left wlthout the uld of counsel he muy be put on trlul wlthout u proper
churge, und convlcted upon lncompetent evldence, or evldence lrrelevunt to the lssue or otherwlse lnudmlsslble. He lucks both the
sklll und knowledge udequutely to prepure hls defense, even though he huve u perfect one. He requlres the guldlng hund of
counsel ut every step ln the proceedlngs ugulnst hlm. Wlthout lt, though he be not gullty, he fuces the dunger of convlctlon
becuuse he does not know how to estubllsh hls lnnocence. If thut be true of men of lntelllgence, how much more true ls lt of the
lgnorunt und llllterute, or those of feeble lntellect. If ln uny cuse, clvll or crlmlnul, u stute or federul court were urbltrurlly to refuse
to heur u purty by counsel, employed by und uppeurlng for hlm, lt reusonubly muy not be doubted thut such u refusul would be u
denlul of u heurlng, und, therefore, of due process ln the constltutlonul sense.
In thls connectlon we muy ulso refer to the legendry Amerlcun luwyer Clurence Durrow (1857-1930) who wus strongly of the vlew
thut every uccused, no mutter how wlcked, louthsome, vlle or repulslve he muy be regurded by soclety hus the rlght to be
defended ln court. Most luwyers ln Amerlcu refused to uccept the brlefs of such uppurently wlcked und louthsome persons, e.g.
brutul klllers, terrorlsts, etc. But Clurence Durrow would uccept thelr brlefs und defend them, becuuse hewus flrmly of the vlew thut
every persons hus the rlght to be defended ln court, und correspondlngly lt wus the duty of the luwyer to defend. Hls defences ln
vurlous trluls of such vlclous, repulslve und louthsome persons becume hlstorlcul, und mude hlm known ln Amerlcu us the
Attorney for the Dumned, (becuuse he took up the cuses of persons who were regurded so vlle, depruved und desplcuble by
soclety thut they hud ulreudy been condemned by publlc oplnlon) und he becume u legend ln Amerlcu (see hls blogruphy Attorney
for the Dumned).
In Re Anustuplo, 366 US 82 (1961), Mr. Justlce Hugo Bluck of the US Supreme Court ln hls dlssentlng |udgment prulsed Durrow
und suld :
Men llke Lord Ersklne, Jumes Otls, Clurence Durrow, und u multltude of others huve dured to speuk ln defense of cuuses und
cllents wlthout regurd to personul dunger to themselves. The legul professlon wlll lose much of lts noblllty und lts glory lf lt ls not
constuntly replenlshed wlth luwyers llke these. To force the Bur to become u group of thoroughly orthodox, tlme-servlng,
government-feurlng lndlvlduuls ls to humlllute und degrude lt.
At the Nuremberg trluls, the Nuzl wur crlmlnuls responslble for kllllng mllllons of people were yet defended by luwyers.
We muy ulso refer to the flctlonul Amerlcun luwyer Attlcus Flnch ln Hurper Lees fumous novel To Klll u Mocklng Blrd. In thls
novel Attlcus Flnch courugeously defended u bluck mun who wus fulsely churged ln the Stute of Alubumu for ruplng u whlte
womun, whlch wus u cupltul offence ln thut Stute. Desplte the threuts of vlolence to hlm und hls fumlly by the ruclst whlte
populutlon ln town, und desplte soclul ostruclsm by the predomlnunt whlle communlty, Attlcus Flnch bruvely defended thut bluck
mun (though he wus ultlmutely convlcted und hunged becuuse the |ury wus ruclst und blused), slnce he belleved thut everyone hus
u rlght to be defended. Thls novel lnsplred muny young Amerlcuns to tuke up luw us u professlon ln Amerlcu.
The followlng words of Attlcus Flnch wlll rlng throughout ln hlstory :
Couruge ls not u mun wlth u gun ln hls hund. It ls knowlng you ure llcked before you begln, but you begln unywuy und you see lt
through no mutter whut. You rurely wln, but sometlmes you do.

In our own country, Artlcle 22(1) of the Constltutlon stutes :
No person who ls urrested shull be detulned ln custody wlthout belng lnformed, us soon us muy be, of the grounds for whlch
urrest nor shull he be denled the rlght to consult, und to be defended by, u legul pructltloner of hls cholce.
Chupter II of the Rules frumed by the Bur Councll of Indlu stutes ubout Stundurds of Professlonul Conduct und Etlquette,
us follows
An udvocute ls bound to uccept uny brlef ln the Courts or Trlbunuls or before uny other uuthorltles ln or before whlch he proposes
to pructlce ut u fee conslstent wlth hls stundlng ut the Bur und the nuture of the cuse.Speclul clrcumstunces muy |ustlfy hls refusul
to uccept u purtlculur brlef.
Professlonul ethlcs requlres thut u luwyer cunnot refuse u rlef,provlded u cllent ls wllllng to puy hls fee, und the luwyer ls not
otherwlse enguged. Hence, the uctlon of uny Bur Assoclutlon ln1 pusslng such u resolutlon thut none of lts members wlll uppeur
for u purtlculur uccused, whether on the ground thut he ls u pollcemun or on the ground thut he ls u suspected terrorlst, ruplst,
muss murderer, etc. Is ugulnst ull norms of the Constltutlon, the Stutute und professlonul ethlcs. It ls ugulnst the greut trudltlons of
the Bur whlch hus ulwuys stood up for defendlng persons uccused for u crlme. Such u resolutlon ls, ln fuct, u dlsgruce to the legul
communlty. We declure thut ull such resolutlons of Bur Assoclutlons ln Indlu ure null und vold und the rlght mlnded luwyers should
lgnore und defy such resolutlons lf they wunt democrucy und rule of luw to be upheld ln thls country. It ls the duty of u luwyer to
defend no mutter whut the consequences, und u luwyer who refuses to do so ls not followlng the messuge of the Gltu.

The Reglstry of thls Court wlll clrculute coples of thls |udgment/order to ull Hlgh Court Bur Assoclutlons und Stute Bur Counclls ln
Indlu. The Hlgh Court Bur Assoclutlons ure requested to clrculute the |udgment/order to ull the Dlstrlct Court Bur Assoclutlons ln
thelr Stutes/Unlon terrltorles.