Justice (Retd.) Madan B. Lokur on Friday (20th November, 2020) interacted with Advocates Warisha Farsat, Tara NArula, Shalini Gera and Sowjhanya Shankaran in a webinar on the topic “Defending Liberties”, hosted by Delhi High Court Women Lawyers Forum and Women in Criminal Law Association.
During the webinar, former Judge of Supreme Court of India said, “I think it is unfair to target a lawyer for appearing for a particular client”. “If a lawyer is dealing with hundreds of COFEPOSA cases, you can’t say that he is also a smuggler. I don’t think the judge should ever get involved in the relationship between lawyer and a client”. The session on writ of Habeas Corpus was commenced with Narula underlining the importance of the writ of Habeas Corpus and invited Justice Lokur to shed light upon the same.
“Justice Lokur commented, “In my view, the writ of Habeas Corpus should be used liberally by the Courts. Matters of preventive detention under MISA, COFEPOSA and now NSA and others, involve putting someone in detention without any trial for years”. Advocate Warisha was also asked to weigh in with her extensive experience on Habeas Corpus petitions. Making two quick points, Farasat succinctly informed the audience that the writ was time-sensitive and it was the duty of the Courts to take it seriously as most of the people who approached them did not have an alternative remedy. Discussing on the topic as to how should lawyers strategize for cases pertaining to preventive detention, Advocate Showjhanya, referring to the Delhi Riots, stated that, securing liberty was extremely important. Shalini Gera speaking on this observed, “It is the process that kills you. It gets to you. Even with acquittals, it’s not that we managed to get people out in a short amount of time. Every case depends on the pressing need at that point. UAPA is a very political case, always. All I can say is that, you have to learn the Court and sometimes, you have to give on something.” Referring to the recent comment made by CJI SA Bobde, while hearing cases pertaining to personal liberty, that Article 32 petitions were being discourages, Justice Lokur was asked about the same. He said, “ I don’t know why they would say that, but I would imagine that it’s because there has been an overload of cases under this Article. I’m guessing it could perhaps mean that the matter would need local understanding. Maybe this is what the CJI had in mind. But, of course, this does not apply to personal liberty cases.