Skip to main content

Senior advocates targeted because they took up cases against Amit Shah: Lawyers' NGO

Indira Jaising, Anand Grover
Counterview Desk
The Lawyers Collective (LC), an NGO claiming to promote human rights issues, has expressed surprise at the latest move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Lawyers Collective (LC), its president Anand Grover and unknown office bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).
Calling it an attempt by the Government of India to silence them for the cases and issues that they had taken up since 2016, an LC statement, singed by its founding members Anand Grover and Indira Jaising said, “The FIR is solely based on proceedings under FCRA, 2010, in which orders for suspension and cancellation of LC’s registration to receive foreign funding were passed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in 2016”.
Pointing out that MHA action has been challenged before the Bombay High Court, and the appeal is pending, LC said, the FIR has been registered after a petition was filed in the Supreme Court by one ‘Lawyers Voice’ comprising lawyers affiliated to the BJP, adding, there is reason to believe that its officer bearers are being personally targeted for speaking up in defence of human rights, secularism and independence of the judiciary in all fora, particularly in their capacity as senior lawyers.

Text of the statement:

The Lawyers' Collective (LC) and its trustees including founding members -- Anand Grover and Indira Jaising -- express shock and outrage at the action of the CBI in registering an FIR against them. The FIR is solely based on proceedings under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010 in which orders for suspension and cancellation of LC’s registration to receive foreign funding were passed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in 2016, which LC has challenged before the Bombay High Court. The Appeal is pending. 
Even at that time, LC had pointed out that the FCRA proceedings were taken against it because its office bearers had taken up sensitive cases against the leading figures of the BJP and the Government of India, including Mr. Amit Shah, the present Home Minister, in the Sorabbudin case, amongst others. LC had further pointed out that there was no basis in MHA’s allegations of violation of the FCRA.
For example, apart from the fact that there was no prohibition under the FCRA for Ms. Jaising to receive remuneration from LC for her work on women’s rights, which is well-known and in the public domain, the said remuneration was being paid before she became ASG and continued during and after her tenure in that capacity, with the permission of the Competent Authority i.e. the Ministry of Law and Justice the Law Minister under the Law Officers (Terms and Conditions) Rules, which has been admitted by the MHA.
This can hardly be the basis of alleged offences under the Prevention of Corrution (PC) Act. Similarly, official expenses reimbursed to Mr. Anand Grover were permissible under the FCRA. All such submissions were simply ignored by the MHA. That is why an appeal was filed in the Bombay High Court which passed interim orders noting that the allegations made by the MHA were vague. 
For nearly two and half years, the CBI, functioning under an NDA regime did not think it fit to register any criminal cases against LC and/or its office bearers, since there was no criminality involved. There has been no change in circumstances or material on record since 2016 and hence, the question arises what has changed between 2016 and 2019. There is no material to show that any of the provisions invoked under the under the IPC, PC Act have any basis.
The FIR has been registered after a petition was filed by one ‘Lawyers Voice’ in the Supreme Court. The said Lawyers Voice comprises lawyers affiliated to the BJP and its main protagonist is Mr. Neeraj is the head of the Legal Cell of the BJP in Delhi. The organization clams it has no income and no PAN card, a mandatory requirement for filing a PIL.
When the Petition was filed the LC pointed out in a press statement that the petition did not have the basic averments of a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution, and therefore was not maintainable. LC expressed surprise at the fact that notice was issued at all in the said Petition. In the recent past, office bearers of LC have represented activists detained in the Bhima Koregaon case and other politically sensitive cases such as that involving the Police Commissioner of West Bengal, Rajiv Kumar.
LC’s Trustees have also been vocal on the subversion of due process of law in the matter of the alleged sexual harassment of a former employee of the Supreme Court of India, while not commenting on the merits of the case. LC has reason to believe that its officer bearers are being personally targeted for speaking up in defence of human rights, secularism and independence of the judiciary in all fora, particularly in their capacity as Senior Lawyers in Court.
LC sees this as a blatant attack of the right to representation of all persons, particularly the marginalised and those who dissent in their views from the ruling establishment. It is also an attack in the right to free speech and expression and an attack on the legal profession as such. The right to legal representation is a guaranteed fundamental right under the Constitution of Indian and is part of the jurisprudence of every civilised country of the world.
LC states that the FIR has no basis in fact and in law. It has been filed to target the organisation and its office bearers and to silence them for the cases and issues that they have taken up in the past and continue to take up since 2016. LC is seeking competent advise and will defend themselves in accordance with law in every forum.

Comments

Gunalan Srinivasan said…

So Sanjiv Bhatt case is no exception

TRENDING

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

India sees 62 journo deaths, 4th highest, amidst pandemic: Swiss media rights body

By Our Representative The Switzerland-based media rights body Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has noted that India is the fourth most affected country as far as mediapersons’ death on account of Covid-19 is concerned. According to Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC, the global tally of casualties among media persons in the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 1,036 journalists in 73 countries till date.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.

Recalling Jallianwala martyrs' communal amity as BJP 'warns' of Sitalkuchi everywhere

By Shamsul Islam*  The RSS-BJP rulers declare India to be a battle-ground between Hinduism and Islam. Muslims have been declared as ‘internal threat’ by RSS ideologue MS Golwalkar (“Bunch of Thought”, Chapter xvi). Behaviour of many of their leading cadres, including those who hold high constitutional posts, is such that they seem to be conspiring over-time to ignite a civil war between the two communities. They are under the impression that this would help divert attention from failures of the Hindutva rulers on developmental front.