Delhi HC Grants Police Protection To Advocate Threatened For Defending His Client
Faced with a case where an Advocate was being threatened and assaulted merely for representing his client, the Delhi High Court allowed the Advocate's petition, seeking police protection.
Since the matter concerned larger issue of "independence of bar" and highlighted police inaction to protect the life and liberty of a young member of Bar, the matter was urgently mentioned before Chief Justice DN Patel on October 24 and it was taken up on board upon assignment before Justice Brijesh Sethi.
The plea filed by Delhi based Advocate Saurabh Kumar Singh underlined the nonchalant attitude of the Police authorities in responding to his complaints of criminal intimidation. Allegedly, Singh was assaulted by the men of one Ram Niwas, a deep-rooted criminal, for pursuing his wife Rita Devi's case for divorce.
As per Singh's petition, he was threatened to count the days of his life if he did not rescue himself from the case against Ram Niwas and subsequently he was assaulted by 4 men. However, the police did not attend to his distress calls promptly and his statement was recorded only after a series of requests. Moreover, the FIR so registered against Ram Niwas and 4 others suffered considerable dilution.
Despite the registration of the FIR, the police did not grant immediate protection to the Petitioner-Advocate and he was yet again stopped by some men at gun-point outside the Rohini Court's premises and was threatened that if he would not withdraw himself in the case, his life would not be spared this time.
"In the circumstances where a lawyer is assaulted, for holding a brief of his client, and despite clear danger to his life, the reckless behaviors pre and post-incidents shown by the Inspector is not mere "laxity in discharge of official function" but constitutes misfeasance and malfeasance of public office," the Petitioner submitted.
Taking note of the Petitioner's concerns over "unexplained unfairness on part of investigation agency," Justice Brijesh Sethi directed the police authority to grant protection to the Petitioner Advocate as and when required.
"Let mobile number of Beat Constable, Division Officer as well as SHO be provided to the petitioner forthwith, so that in case of exigency, petitioner can contact the concerned officials.
In the meanwhile, Let the concerned DCP provide the PSO to the petitioner," the court said.
As per the plea, the said Ram Niwas had also on earlier occasions threatened Rita Devi and the filing counsel in the matter but no action against him was taken by the police. Rather, on a complaint made by Rita Devi, the Inspector concerned had counseled her to not to press the cases against Ram Niwas as it would do her no good but "surely invite death to her".
The plea was filed by and argued by Advocate Anurag Ojha, assisted by Advocates Shivam Malhotra, Kanishk Arora and Srishti Thukral.