Right to counsel definition 

Constitution of India 

Recently the karnataka high court has clarified that it is unethical and illegal for lawyers to pass a resolution against representing the accused in the court. It is noteworthy that last month the local Bar Association passed a resolution objecting to the representation of 4 students arrested on charges of treason.

Rights of the accused in the Constitution

Article 22 (1) of the Indian Constitution gives every person the fundamental right not to be deprived of the right to defend by a lawyer of his choice.

Article 14 of the Constitution provides for the right to equality before law in the territory of India.

Article 39A of the constitution is part of the Directive Principles of State Policy, according to which no citizen should be denied justice due to economic or other disabilities and the state will arrange for free legal aid.
Supreme Court's comment on this subject

A.A. in the year 2010 s. The Supreme Court bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra in Mohammad Rafi v. State of Tamil Nadu had commented regarding the illegality of such motions. The court said that "every person in the country has the right to defend in the court and it is the duty of the lawyer to defend it with it." It is important that A. s. The case of Mohammad Rafi vs State of Tamil Nadu has also been mentioned by the Karnataka High Court in its decision.

In 2006, after a dispute in Coimbatore between a lawyer and a policemen, a resolution was passed by the lawyers not to represent the policemen. The Madras High Court, taking cognizance of the case, termed this act of lawyers as unprofessional.

The Supreme Court in its judgment stated that ‘such proposals are completely illegal, against the traditions of the bar and professional ethics.
Lawyers' Professional Ethics

The Bar Council of India has certain rules regarding professional standards, which are part of the standards of professional conduct and courtesy followed by lawyers under the Advocates Act, 1961.

As per rules, a lawyer is bound to accept any suit in court or tribunal as per his prescribed fee.

However, in the rules, some 'special circumstances' have been clarified by lawyers for not accepting any case.

Last year, the Uttarakhand High Court had clarified that the 'special circumstances' mentioned in the rules refer to an Individual Advocate, who may decide not to represent in a particular case, but it is not possible that An individual advocate refuses to represent the Bar Association in any case for fear of termination of its membership.
Related matters

After the terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008, a resolution was passed against representing Ajmal Kasab. Initially, the lawyer who was assigned the case refused it, while another lawyer who agreed to defend Kasab faced threats.

Thereafter, a lawyer was appointed to represent Kasab and he was also given police protection.

After the 2012 gang-rape in Delhi, the lawyers in the Saket court passed a resolution not to defend the accused.

Last year, the Bar Association in Hyderabad passed a resolution against representing four accused arrested for raping a vet and killing him.
 Road ahead

Under the Indian Constitution, all people present in the Indian territory have been given the right to equality before the law.

In such a case, the decision to pass a resolution against representation by the bar association seems clearly unreasonable, but sometimes situations arise in which it is not possible to represent an accused.

It is necessary that the professional standards of the Bar Council of India be followed on this subject and appropriate steps should be taken keeping in mind the instructions given by the Supreme Court.


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