Standing up for those who stood with us: Support for Lawyers Collective
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Standing up for those who stood with us: Support for Lawyers Collective

Aditya AK

Even as the Central government and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) continue their pursuit against Lawyers Collective, members from different walks of civil society have issued a statement in support of the NGO.

Last week, the CBI filed an FIR against Lawyers Collective for alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). In response, Lawyers Collective had claimed that its office bearers – including Senior Advocates Anand Grover and Indira Jaising – were being targeted for taking up crucial and sensitive cases.

And now, a statement has been released criticising the government for its increasing tendency “to curb the voice of the people, which is the very essence of democracy”.

Signatories standing in solidarity with Lawyers Collective include lyricist and writer Javed Akhtar, actors Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah, and activist Teesta Setalvad.

From the legal fraternity, Dr. Anup Surendranath; Senior Advocates Rajani Iyer, Gayatri Singh, and Sanjay Singhvi; and a host of lawyers including Karuna Nundy, Veena Gowda, and Trideep Pais came forward in support of the NGO.

Here is the full statement in support of Lawyers Collective:

We, the undersigned concerned citizens, are extremely perturbed at the increasing tendency of the Government, through its agencies, to use excessive power to curb the voice of the people, which is the very essence of democracy.

The work of Lawyers Collective in general and Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, in particular,has contributed to changing the lives not just of individuals but of citizens of a democratic republic. They have not only represented the rights of individuals and communities such as slum dwellers, workers, trade unions, prisoners, SC/ST associations, Bhopal Gas tragedy victims, women, LGBTQ+ and other marginalised communities as lawyers, but have also contributed immensely to the discourse of human rights and state accountability as public intellectuals.

They represent a commitment to the country that our founding leaders envisioned and that is enshrined in our Constitution. They have fearlessly exercised their right to not just freedom of speech and expression but the fundamental right of every citizen to hold the Government and Institutions of the day accountable. This is a right that every constitutional democracy must seek to protect for its citizenry.

The registration of an FIR against them under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code, on the very allegations that are already under challenge before the High Court of Bombay, is a clear sign of executive haste and overreach. Pillorying them in this manner would deprive vulnerable sections of society of the benefit of representation of such high calibre and commitment. We do not wish to see a future where the voices of people such as Indira Jaising and Anand Grover are curtailed and the attempt of the State to do so must be strongly criticized.

We must today as citizens of a free country, stand with those who have for the last four decades stood with us. We call upon the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Central Bureau of Investigation and the courts of law to desist from the unjustified and vindictive use of Criminal Law on the likes of Indira Jaising, Anand Grover or any citizen of this country.

Signatories:

Anju Dodiya, Artist, Mumbai
Atul Dodiya, Artist, Mumbai
Amar Kanwar, Artist, Film maker New Delhi
Arundhathi Nag, Theatre Director-Actor, Bengaluru
Atul Kumar, Theatre Director-Actor, Mumbai
Ava Bhavsar, Artist, Ahmedabad
Amol k Patil, Artist, Mumbai
Amir Rizvi, Artist, Mumbai
Archana Hande, Artist, Mumbai
Anant Joshi, Artist, Mumbai
Anuradha Kapur – Theatre maker, New Delhi
Ammu Joseph, Senior journalist, Bengaluru
Ajay Noronha, Cinematographer/ Filmmaker, Mumbai
Anjali Monteiro, Filmmaker and academic, Mumbai (TISS)
Abhro Banerjee, Film editor
Aparna Andhare, Museum Professional, Mumbai & Jaipur
Aditi Ray, Journalist, Kolkata
Anand Patwardhan, Filmmaker, Mumbai
Arpita Singh, Artist, New Delhi (Padma Shri)
Anjum Singh, Artist, New Delhi
Abhujeet Tamhane, Art critic, Mumbai
Arijit Bhattacharyya, Artist, West Bengal
Arunesh, Sangama, Resource Centre on Sexuality, Bengaluru
Antara Dev Sen, Journalist, New Delhi
Anjali Damania, Advocate, Mumbai
Avijit Mukul Kishore, Filmmaker, Mumbai
Anup Surendranath, Lawyer, Professor, Mumbai
Dr Bernard Imhasly, Journalist, Mumbai
Bharatesh G D, Visual Artist, Bangalore
Behroze Gandhy, Filmmaker, London
Balachandran Ramiah, Investments, Mumbai
Bharati Kapadia, Artist, Mumbai
Bina Sarkar Ellias, Poet, Editor & Publisher, Bombay
Babu Eshwar Prasad, Artist, Bangalore
Brinelle D’Souza, TISS, PUCL, ICWM, Mumbai
Chitra Palekar, Film Writer and Director, Mumbai
Charles Williams, BPO Operations, Mumbai
Chhatrapati Dutta, Artist, Kolkata
Chitra Joshi – Academic, Delhi
Dhruvi Acharya, Visual Artist, Mumbai
Dilip Ranade, Artist, Thane
Diksha Sharma, Filmmaker, Mumbai
Danish Husain, Theatre Artist, Mumbai
Dibeyendu Ganguly, Journalist, Mumbai
Deepti Gopinath, Secretary, Indian Airports Employees Union, Mumbai
Francis Pullambra, Self-employed, Mumbai
Franklyn D’souza, former President, Hindustan Lever Employees Union
George Jose, Academic, Mumbai
Gopalji Pradhan, Professor, Hindi School of Letters, Ambedkar University, Delhi
Gayatri Kodikal, Artist and Writer, Rotterdam
Geeta Kapur, Art historian, New Delhi
V Geetha, Scholar on feminism and caste, Publisher & Co-director, Tara Books, Chennai
Gayatri Singh, Senior Advocate, Mumbai
Geeta Seshu, Journalist, Mumbai
Gautam Mody, General Secretary, NTUI
Hardik Doshi, Investment Fund Advisor, Mumbai
Hussain Indorewala, Asst. Professor & Architect, Mumbai
Indu Chandrasekhar, Publisher, Tulika Books, Delhi
Aparna, President, IFTU
Anita Rampal, Academic, New Delhi
Abhijeet Tamhane, Art Critic, Mumbai.
Ina Puri, Art Promoter, New Delhi
Ira Bhaskar, Professor, New Delhi
Javed Akhtar, Writer, Mumbai
Jitish Kallat, Artist, Mumbai
Jhelum Paranjape, Dancer, Teacher & Choreographer, Mumbai
Jahangir Jani, Artist, Mumbai
Justin Ponmany, Visual Artist, Mumbai
Jane Cox, Lawyer, Mumbai
Jyotsna Murthy, Entrepreneur, Bangalore
Jyoti Punwani, Journalist, Mumbai
Kausik Mukhopadhyay, Artist, Mumbai
KP Jayasankar, Filmmaker & Academic, Mumbai (TISS)
Krishna Rao, Independent Consultant, Bangalore
Krishnapriya C P, Visual artist/Curator, Chennai
Kumkum Sangari, Professor, New Delhi
Kamini Tanka, Professor, New Delhi
Karuna Nundy, Advocate, New Delhi
Kirti Jain, Theatre, Delhi
Keval Arora, Academic, Delhi
Kavita Singh, Art Historian, Professor, School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, New Delhi
Lara Jesani, Advocate, Mumbai
Lubaina Rangwala, Urban Planner, Mumbai
LN Tallur, Artist, Koteshwara
Laxmi Murthy, Journalist, Bengaluru
Madhushree Dutta, Filmmaker
Meeta Jain, Architect, Bangalore
Mansore, Artist & Filmmaker, Bengaluru
Meera Devidayal, Artist, Mumbai
Mansi Bhatt, Artist, Mumbai
Mandira Mitra, Advocate, New Delhi
Maya Rao, Theatre artist, Delhi
Mohan Rao, Professor (retired), Bangalore
Mithu Sen, Artist, New Delhi
Mamta Murthy Filmmaker, Mumbai
Mitra Mukherjee Parikh, Academic, Mumbai
Nilima Sheikh, Artist, Vadodara
Naseeruddin Shah, Actor, Mumbai
Nityanand Jayaraman, Journalist & Social Activist
Neeladri Bhattacharya, Historian, Delhi
Nimi Ravindran, Producer, Writer, Director, Bangalore
Neera Adarkar, Architect, Mumbai
Oli Ghosh, Artist and Art Educationist, Mumbai
Pushpamala N, Artist, Bangalore
Priyanka Jain, Visual Artist, Delhi
Prajakta Potnis, Artist, Mumbai
Persis Anklesaria, Retired, Mumbai
Premjish Achari, Art Historian/Curator, Delhi
Poorna Swami, Choreographer & Writer, Bangalore
Paramjit Singh, Artist, New Delhi
Priyanka Raja, Gallerist, Kolkata
Prabhavathi Meppayil, Artist, Bangalore
Pravin Nadkar, Trade Union Centre of India (TUCI), Maharashtra
Preeti Sharma Menon, AAP
Prabodh Parikh, Poet & Writer, Mumbai
Rajani Iyer, Senior Advocate, Mumbai
Ratna Pathak Shah, Actor, Mumbai
Reena Kallat, Artist, Mumbai
Ravi Kulkarni, Lawyer, Mumbai
Rohan Shivkumar, Academic, Architect & Urban Designer, Mumbai
Rakhi Peswani, Artist, Bangalore
Ranjit Kandalgaonkar, Visual Artist, Mumbai
Rashna Imhasly-Gandhy, Psychologist, Mumbai
Rina Kamath, Legal Practitioner, Mumbai
Radhi Parekh, Designer, Mumbai
Reetha Balsavar, Theatre, Mumbai
Ram Rahman, Photographer, New Delhi
Rakesh Shukla, Advocate, Supreme Court, Delhi
Dr. Raj Kumar Mazinder, Asst. Professor, Dept. of Visual Arts, Assam University
Ritambhara, Journalist, New Delhi
Rahul Kamerkar, Advocate, Mumbai
Radhika Singha, Professor, New Delhi
Rana Behal, Academic, Delhi
Rasna Bhushan, Art Critic, Hyderabad
Radhika Wader, Artist, Vadodara
Rajiv Dhimri, General Secretary, AICCTU
Saba Dewan, Filmmaker, Gurgaon
Shakuntala Kulkarni, Artist, Mumbai
Shilpa Gupta, Artist, Mumbai
Surekha, Artist, Bangalore
Sandhya Srinivasan, Journalist, Mumbai
Sheela Gowda, Artist, Bangalore
T V Santhosh, Artist, Mumbai
Suresh Rajamani, Sound Recordist, Mumbai
Sankalp Meshram, Filmmaker & Editor, Mumbai (National Award-winner)
Sameer Khedekar, IT, Mumbai
Shweta Wagh, Asst. Professor, Architect, Mumbai
Shalini Sawhney, Art Promoter, Mumbai
Sanjana Shelat, Artist, Mumbai
Shashi Mehta, Designer of Truth, Mumbai
Sudipta Ghosh, Service, Bangalore
Shuchi Kapoor, Photojournalist, Chennai
Shireen Gandhy, Gallerist, Mumbai
Sudharak Olwe, Social documentary Photographer (Padma Shri)
Sanjeev Khandekar, Artist, Poet & Writer, Mumbai
Sujay Saple, Performance Maker, Mumbai
Sachin Kamani, Theatre Manager, Mumbai
Sunil Shanbag, Theatre, Mumbai
Sameera Iyengar, Theatre, Mumbai
Simantini Dhuru, Film-Maker & Educationist, Mumbai
Sajal Sarkar, Visual Artist, New Jersey
S N Sujith, Artist, Mumbai
Sonia Gill, Activist
Suman Samajpati, Artist, Kolkata
Sourav Roy Chowdhury, Artist, Kolkata
Sherna Dastur, Graphic Designer, New Delhi
Sopan Muller, Filmmaker, Mumbai
Sukirat Anand, Punjabi Writer and Journalist, Jalandhar
Sushma Veerapa, Filmmaker, Bangalore
Sunanda Bhat, Filmmaker, Bangalore
Shukla Sawant Professor, School of Arts and Aesthetics, JNU, New Delhi
Satyajit Dave, Historian, Mumbai
Sarah Kapadia, Advocate, Mumbai
Suren Uppal, Advocate, Delhi
Sumangala Biradar, Advocate, Mumbai
Sree Goswami, Gallerist, Mumbai
Surabhi Sharma, Filmmaker, Mumbai
Sanjay Singhvi, Senior Advocate & President, Trade Union Centre of India (TUCI)
Teju Jhaveri, Graphic Designer, Mumbai
Tamal Mitra, Artist & Teaching, Mumbai
Teesta Setalvad, Mumbai
Trideep Pais, Advocate, New Delhi
Uttam Ghosh, Artist, Mumbai
Vaishali Narkar, Artist, Mumbai
Varna Balakrishnan, Research Fellow, Karwan e Mohabbat, New Delhi
Vinod Shetty, Lawyer, Mumbai
Vickram Crishna, Private Citizen, Mumbai
Vivan Sundaram, Artist, New Delhi
Varunika Saraf, Artist, Hyderabad
Vasudha Nagaraj, Advocate, Hyderabad
Vineesh Amin, Artist, Bengaluru
Veena Gowda, Lawyer, Mumbai
Vivek Monteiro, Secretary, CITU, Maharashtra
N. Vasudevan, President, NTUI
Vidya Das Arora, Academic, Delhi
Vikas Rawal, Professor, New Delhi
Yardena Kurulkar, Artist, Mumbai
Yunus Khimani, Artist, Jaipur
Yusuf, Artist, Bhopal
Yug Chaudhry, Advocate, Mumbai
Zoya Hassan, Political Scientist, New Delhi
Zasha Colah, Curator, Mumbai

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