Just a few days ago, the Mysuru Bar Association has passed a resolution barring its members from appearing for Nalini Balakumar, who is booked for sedition for allegedly holding a placard which had written "Free Kashmir”on it. She was protesting at the University of Mysore on January 8, 2020 ina protest organised by Dalit Students’ Association and Mysore University Research Students Association.
On January 21, 2020, over 169 advocates from the state of Karnataka - including Senior Advocates of the Bar association have signed a Vakalatnama offering to appear for her in court. Not only for Nalini, they have also offered to represent any other students who have been booked for sedition. In their communicative statement they said that;
“Every person has the fundamental and constitutional right to be represented in a court of law."
Their statement further says that;
“As senior advocates, we are ready to represent the accused in court and provide her necessary legal assistance. So, students are requested not to worry and concentrate on their academics.”
Earlier resolution of Mysuru Bar Association was condemned by group of lawyers from Bengaluru calling it “a blatant attack on the ideals of the Constitution”.
On January 10, 2020 the court of Additional District and Session Judge Jerald Rudolph Mendonca had ordered that she be released on bail on her executing a personal bond for a sum of Rs.1,00,000/- with one surety for the like sum in the event of her arrest by the respondent police in connection with the ongoing sedition matter against her.
Appearing before the judge her Advocate Anis Pasha argued thatthe charges levelled against Nalini were completely baseless and false. In fact, she was only holding a placard, which does not per-se amount to sedition.
On prosecution’s request for more time to file a reply, the matter is adjourned till January 24, 2020.
Author: Parth Thummar