- Apprentice Lawyer
The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has expressed "shock, deep concern and dismay" at the recent search and seizure conducted by Delhi police at advocate Mehmood Pracha's office.
In a statement issued on Monday, the SCBA has called the Delhi police raid on Pracha's premises an arbitrary, illegal and brazen exercise of brute power and actions taken by them "contrary to law against members of the legal fraternity".
SCBA has also condemned the brutal assault of a lawyer in the Etah district of Uttar Pradesh by the local police who entered the house of the lawyer, assaulted him and then lodged him and his entire family in jail.
"Search and seizure conducted at the premises of a member of this association is a malicious act which defeats the right of an advocate to practice his profession without fear or favour. Such actions are intimidatory and designed to abuse the due process of law by coercing an advocate to succumb to police threats and methods unheard in legal annals," reads the statement.
The SCBA has stated that the act of police violates the right of the accused to a fair trial guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The statement further asserts that advocates are entrusted with confidential information from their clients which is privileged communication.
"Such privilege is protected under law and sine qua non for the effective realization of a right to fair trial," says SCBA.
The actions of Delhi police in its attempt to seize the personal computer and personal devices of a lawyer taking subterfuge under orders of a court 'is a gross violation of Right to Privacy,' the statement reads.
On December 24, the office of advocate Mehmood Pracha, one of the lawyers appearing in the Delhi Riots and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) cases, was raided by the Delhi Police.
As per sources, Pracha's office was raided by a Special Cell of the Delhi Police. The Police claimed it was searching for "incriminating documents" and meta data of the outbox of the official email id of Pracha's firm.
While the raid was ongoing, Pracha told the officers that the order does not allow the seizure of his computers, but only examination of them.
Pracha later moved the Patiala House court seeking copy of the video footage of the raids. The Court has asked the investigating officer to preserve a copy of the same while deferring the matter for further hearing in January.
[Read SCBA statement]