Long wait for Kasab lawyers to get fee

It seems to be a long wait for the two lawyers of Mumbai terror attack`s lone surviving gunman Ajmal Kasab to get their legal fees.

Updated: Sep 12, 2011, 17:58 PM IST

Mumbai: It seems to be a long wait for the
two lawyers of Mumbai terror attack`s lone surviving gunman
Ajmal Kasab to get their legal fees.

Amin Solkar and Farhana Shah had argued for Kasab in the
Bombay High Court against his death sentence almost on a
day-to-day basis for nearly nine months. They were nominated
by the High Court.

But the two claimed that the legal aid cell of
Maharashtra Government was yet to clear their remuneration.
The High Court had given its verdict confirming the
death penalty of the Pakistani national in February this year.
The Lashker-e-Taiba(LeT) terrorist has challenged the verdict
in the Supreme Court.

After their nomination, Solkar and Shah were appointed
by the Maharashtra State Legal Services department to take up
Kasab`s defence in his appeal against the death penalty
awarded to him by a trial court in the November 2008 terror
attack. A notification for their appointment was issued on
June eight, 2010.
According to the notification which was signed by the
then secretary A K Sonawane, the two were to receive
remuneration equivalent to what is sanctioned for an
additional public prosecutor who conducts a death penalty
confirmation case.

While the exact amount per hearing was not known,
sources in the know put the figure somewhere between Rs 1,500
to Rs 2,000 per hearing.

If the accused fails to appoint a lawyer for himself,
the court can nominate a lawyer from the legal services
department.

The Bombay High Court began hearing Kasab`s appeal since
June last year and confirmed the death penalty awarded to him
in February this year.

Since the commencement of the appeal hearing, both Amin
and Farhana have been appearing before the High Court on a
daily basis for arguments.

"We had given this case priority as the high court was
hearing it daily from 11 am to 5 pm. According to the letter
issued by the government, we would be paid as soon as the
judgment was delivered," Farhana said.

V L Achiliya, secretary of Maharashtra Law and Judiciary
department, said the lawyers would receive their fees soon.
"The Maharashtra State Legal Services department will pay the
two lawyers after they submit their bills," Achliya said.

The statement of Achiliya surprised Farhana who said
that they were in court all through. "How can they ask us to
submit bills when the government appointed us following
nomination from the High Court," she said.

"We have not yet got any intimation or letter from the
government asking us to approach them seeking remuneration. It
is as if we never appeared in the case," Solkar said.

Abbas Kazmi, a lawyer who had defended Kasab before
trial judge M L Tahalayani, claims he has been paid by the
government for his services. "My remuneration was given by the
government soon after the completion of the trial," Kazmi
said, adding he got his fees without having to submit any
bills to the government.

Kasab is lodged at the Arthur Road prison since his
arrest in November 2008.

PTI