Chief Justice Oka of the Karnataka HC questioned the Section 144 order
Chief Justice Oka of the Karnataka HC questioned the Section 144 order

Hubli Bar Association (finally) withdraws resolution barring lawyers from appearing for Kashmiri students, Karnataka HC disposes of petition

Rintu Mariam Biju

In line with the previous directions of the Karnataka High Court, the Hubli Bar Association today tendered a resolution stating that the previous resolution of February 15 has been withdrawn.

Considering the same, the High Court has now disposed of the matter.

The resolution dated March 5, which has now been submitted to the Court, reads:

"The Bar Association on this date has resolved that in view of the modification of the Resolution dated 24.02.2020, resolution dated 15.02.2020 [modified resolution] stands as an effect to have been revoked and withdrawn accordingly by the Bar Association, Hubballi."

Hubli Bar Association

The petitioners who challenged the resolution before the High Court further asked the Division Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S Kinagi to consider whether the passing of such a resolution amounted to criminal contempt.

Responding to this, CJ Oka said that the matter could be looked at as 'criminal contempt', as the accused were manhandled while being taken to Court. However, the Court noted that the contempt aspect in the matter would be dealt with separately.

On the conduct of the Hubli Bar Association, CJ Oka observed that,

"...the resolution of the Bar Association has set a bad precedent. Describing the accused as Anti Nationals by adjudicating the FIR, is a heinous crime."

Further, even after two hearings, none of the members of the local Bar came forward to represent the accused persons in their bail application, the Court observed.

The Court further pointed out that even serious criminals like Ajmal Kasab were entitled to fair trial and therefore, the three accused persons in the matter are entitled to the same.

While disposing of the petition, CJ Oka urged the other bar associations not to create such situations that would require the High Court's intervention. The Court further refrained from issuing directions on the violence that occurred outside the Dharwad court as the investigation in the matter is on-going.

Last week, the Karnataka High Court observed that unless and until the Hubli Bar Association withdraws its February 15 resolution, the matter would not be disposed of.

Earlier, the Hubli Bar Association had resolved that none of its members would appear for the three Kashmiri students who were arrested on charges of sedition for allegedly raising pro-Pakistan slogans and posting it on social media.

This prompted lawyers from the state to file a petition before the High Court, challenging the resolution of the Hubli Bar Association.

[Read the resolution here]

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