Plea in Delhi High Court to frame guidelines to regulate search and seizure at advocates’ premises

A PIL in the Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought formulation of mandatory guidelines to be followed by the investigating agencies while conducting search and seizure operations at the premises of an advocate.

The Centre opposed the plea raising preliminary objection that the petitioner has not made the investigating agencies parties to the petition and has not disclosed the name of the advocate on whom the search was conducted.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Jyoti Singh asked the Centre to file a short reply to the petition and made it clear it was not issuing notice on the plea at this stage.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on September 3.

Petitioner Nikhil Borwankar, a lawyer, sought direction for framing of procedures and guidelines for conducting search on advocates with adequate safeguards to ensure that provisions of law pertaining to attorney-client privilege and their fundamental rights are protected.

Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma and advocate Ajay Digpaul said the Centre was opposing this petition tooth and nail and the court shall not issue notice without giving them a hearing.

Who is this advocate (on whom search was conducted) must be disclosed. What is the relation of this advocate with the petitioner must be disclosed, he contended.

The petitioner, represented through advocate Prashant Bhushan, said the plea is filed at a time when there exists an atmosphere of deep mistrust and acrimony between advocates and law enforcement agencies with regard to recent searches executed against certain advocates representing accused persons and victims in controversial cases.

The plea claimed this has given rise to the perception of deliberate targeting of individuals and a collapse in the ability of the law and order machinery of the state to pursue justice objectively and without bias.

Source : PTI

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