After almost four days of struggle, the three lawyers from Bengaluru were finally able to file the bail applications for the three Kashmiri students who have been charged with sedition, amid police protection. This comes after the Chief Justice of Karnataka warned contempt proceedings against those who try to stop lawyers from filing the bail applications for the students. In early February, a video of the three students allegedly saying ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ went viral, following which they were booked.
On Monday, the team of three lawyers from Bengaluru had visited the Principal District and Sessions Court in Dharwad to file the vakalatnama (a document filed in court stating that the accused has accepted the legal counsel of the said lawyer and that the lawyer will be representing the accused in the case henceforth) and the bail application on behalf of the three students charged with sedition. However, they were met with stiff resistance from the Dharwad Bar Association members. Lawyers had staged a protest within the court’s premises and had demanded that the three lawyers refrain from representing the accused. The three lawyers were manhandled and their car was vandalised.
The Dharwad Bar Association staged the protest as the High Court had issued an interim order against the resolution passed by the Hubballi Bar Association to not represent the students. In this backdrop, Chief Justice Abhay Sreenivas Oka, who was hearing a petition filed by Bengaluru lawyer BT Venkatesh, on Thursday directed the Dharwad Police Commissioner to collect names and details of the advocates who protest or hinder the lawyers from filing the bail application.
Chief Justice Abhay Oka had also stated that contempt proceedings would be initiated against those advocates who shout slogans and try to stop the lawyers from filing the bail application. With heavy police protection, the lawyers from Bengaluru representing the three Kashmiri engineering students filed the bail application in the Dharwad court on Friday. The bail hearing is scheduled for March 2.
On February 14, three engineering students from KLE Institute of Technology in Hubballi were arrested and charged with sedition after a video of them saying Pakistan Zindabad went viral the same day. On February 15, the Hubballi Bar Association passed a resolution and barred its members from representing the three Kashmiri students. Twenty-four lawyers from Bengaluru including BT Venkatesh filed a petition with the Karnataka High Court against the Hubballi Bar Association’s resolution. The High Court had reprimanded the bar association and reminded them that every accused is entitled to a fair trial.