New Delhi: Prominent lawyer Ram Jethmalani
on Tuesday offered to defend rights activist Binayak Sen, sentenced
by a trial court to life imprisonment for sedition, in higher
judiciary and said he did not find it contradictory to fight
the case and be a BJP MP.
"I do not believe in party line. No party line says
that lawyers should not appear for some people," Jethmalani
He said if Sen seeks his professional assistance, "I
will do it for him. I will be very happy to fight for him".
Jethmalani said he cannot criticise the Chhattisgarh
court order as he has not seen the judgement. "But personally,
I think the case is weak. I think Sen has been wrongly
Former Chief Justice A M Ahmadi said he was "taken
aback" at the judgement. He said "fundamental right of freedom
of expression has been held equal as terrorism."
Ahmadi said carrying letters and handing it over to
somebody else is not a strong ground to convict someone.
Another Chief Justice V N Khare said the state has to
prove to the hilt that the person who it has got hold of is
"In case evidence is fragile and not sustainable, then
the high court will have to answer," he said reacting to the
"I have not decided to take up the case. But I have said
if I am approached by any friend or representative of Binayak
Sen, I would be quite willing to appear for him and do my best
for his defence...He has right of appeal and the appellate
court will hear his case and I am willing to do it for him,"
On why he is willing to take up the case, the BJP leader
said, "I do not decide that on the merits of case which I take
up...In fact, I do not take up any cases these days. There are
some exceptions which I make and I am quite prepared to make
an exception in Binayak Sen case."
To a question whether there is a conflict of interest in
taking up the case, he said, "I look after my conflict of
interest myself. BJP does not prevent me from doing my
professional duty. If some body approaches me for professional
help it is my duty to give it under the rules to which I am
Defending his stand even if it goes against the state
government which is a BJP-ruled state, he said "so what? BJP
government should be happy if an innocent man is acquitted."
To a question whether he has discussed the issue with his
party, Jethmalani said, "I do not discuss my case with my
party people. I do not have to."