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Kotdwar Bar Association to withdraw its ban on representing accused in Sushil Raghuvanshi murder case

The Uttarakhand High Court has been informed that the Kotdwar Bar Association would be withdrawing its controversial notice barring advocates from appearing on behalf of the accused in the Sushil Raghuvanshi murder case.

Earlier this month, the Bench of Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Alok Kumar Verma had castigated the Bar Association’s move to pass a resolution directing all Association members to refrain from appearing for any of the accused in the case.

Appearing for the Kotdwar Bar Association, Advocate DS Mehta submitted on Tuesday that the notice issued by the Secretary of the Association was undoubtedly objectionable. He further submitted that while the notice was posted on the notice board, no advocate was physically prevented from appeared on behalf of the accused.

Moreover, it was informed that an urgent meeting was scheduled to be conducted in the first week of July after the Court reopens to rescind the controversial notice. An affidavit would also be filed after the notice is so rescinded, it was submitted.

The case involved the shooting of a Kodtwar-based advocate Sushil Raghuvanshi in 2017. Three persons had been arrested in the case this year, including one, Vinod Kumar.

Advocate Kuldeep Agarwal, who had taken up Kumar’s case was constrained to approach the High Court for intervention, alleging that he was being harassed against appearing for Kumar by the Bar Association’s members. He therefore moved a writ petition through Advocates Kartikey Hari Gupta and Pallavi Bahuguna.

Taking strong exception to the Bar Association’s conduct, the Bench had observed,

“Howsoever, heinous the crime may be, every accused is entitled for legal representation…

…It is the obligation of an Advocate, subject to his being paid the fees he is entitled to, to represent the accused, and in case the accused is not able to afford legal representation then the State is obligated to provide him legal aid.”

The Court has now posted the matter to be taken up next on July 8 after taking on record the submissions made on behalf of the Kotdwar Bar Association.

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