New Delhi: Press Council of India Chairperson Justice Markandey Katju on Tuesday slammed members of the Saket Bar Association, who had created commotion apparently to put pressure on lawyers defending accused in the Delhi gang-rape case.
"It is reported that some members of Saket Bar Association created a disorderly scene yesterday at the time when the Delhi gang-rape accused were produced in Court, and shouted at a lawyer, Manohar Lal Sharma, who wanted to appear for the accused," Katju said in a statement here.
"It is also reported that some members of an NGO Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan shouted at Sharma and (another lawyer) Anand who wanted to appear for the accused saying that they should not appear for them since they are accused of a serious crime," he noted.
Katju said if these reports are correct, then "it is disgraceful" and added that every person accused of a crime, however, heinous and despicable, has the right to be defended under Article 22 of the Constitution.
"Those lawyers who behaved like this and created a turmoil in Court, as reported, so much so that the Judge had to rise and go to her chamber, not only deserve to be punished for Contempt of Court, they should also be proceeded against by the Bar Council for breach of professional ethics," he said in the statement.
Katju said that the Supreme Court in a case AS Mohammed Rafi vs State of Tamil Nadu had held that every person accused of a crime, however heinous, wicked and vicious it may be regarded by society, has a right to be defended in Court, and it is the duty of the lawyer to defend.
If this principle is not observed, democracy and the rule of law will collapse, and lynch law will follow, Katju said.