"Act of vindictiveness:" Delhi High Court Women Lawyers Forum writes to DHCBA over police raid at office of Mehmood Pracha

The Forum has urged President, DHCBA to raise the issue before appropriate fora to protect members of the Bar.
"Act of vindictiveness:" Delhi High Court Women Lawyers Forum writes to DHCBA over police raid at office of Mehmood Pracha
Woman Lawyer advocate

Following the police raid at the house of advocate Mehmood Pracha, Delhi High Court Women Lawyers Forum has written to the President of Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA), Mohit Mathur, expressing deep concerns over investigating agency arraigning lawyers as accused in criminal cases.

The Forum states that on the face of it, the proceedings initiated against lawyers are ostensibly independent of the matters being handled by them.

However, the pattern emerging from all such instances, where lawyers are being targeted, is hard to ignore, the letter adds.

"Raids in the office of Mr. Mahmood Pracha, Advocate is the latest example of such intimidation by the Delhi Police. Mr. Pracha is representing several accused persons in the recent riot cases in Delhi. The recent trend indicates that there are other lawyers too who are being intimidated and discouraged from representing their clients in these cases. However, this is also a larger issue that goes beyond the riots case, wherein lawyers who are vocal about defending civil liberties are being systematically targeted," the statement reads.

It has been stated that the conduct of the investigating agency is "clearly an act of vindictiveness" which is aimed at preventing lawyers from carrying out their professional duties.

Strongly condemning the motivated act, the Forum has urged Mathur to take a strong stand against the trend and raise the issue before appropriate fora to protect members of the Bar.

The statement has been signed by advocates Anuradha Dutt, Malavika Rajakotia, Ritu Bhalla, Warisha Farasat, Naomi Chandra, Pooja Saigal, Jhum Jhum Sarkar, Anubha Rastogi, Anjali Sharma, Saumya Tandon, Nandita Rao, Iram Majid, Ragini Vinaik, Suruchi Suri, Kirti Singh, Shweta Kapoor, Gayatri Virmani, Sumita Kapil, Miriam Fozia Rahman, Manali Singhal, Nidhi Mohan Parashar, Swaty Singh Malik, Ruchi Singh, Mani Gupta, Tanima Kishore, Tarannum Cheema, Mahjabeen, Anupam Sanghi, Aakanksha Nehra and Shahrukh Alam.

Pracha, who has been representing the accused in Delhi riots cases, was raised by the Delhi Police on December 24. The Police claimed that it was searching for "incriminating documents" and meta data of the outbox of the official email id of Pracha's firm.

He later moved the Patiala House court in Delhi seeking preservation of copies of the video footage of the raids conducted by Delhi police at his office on Thursday.

The Court has asked Delhi Police's response on Pracha's plea and also directed the investigating officer to be present in the court on the next hearing date along with the complete video footage of the search on Pracha's office premises.

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