NEW DELHI: Delhi Police raiding the office of advocate Mehmood Pracha, has caused alot of concern among the lawyers’ community especially about the breach of attorney-client privilege — the concept that communication between a person and his/her lawyer is confidential.
Pracha, who has been fighting the cases of a large number of victims of northeast Delhi riots, alleged that he is being targeted because he has been trying to establish Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s links with the violence.
Several lawyers criticised the raids that relates to alleged cases of fraud against Pracha. Senior Congress leader and lawyer Manish Tewari, Delhi government counsels Rahul Mehra and Rishikesh Kumar were among the people who condemned the raids. Senior advocate Indira Jaising termed the raids “a direct attack on the fundamental right to legal representation” and urged all lawyers to condemn the attack.
Supreme Court advocate Karuna Nundy also appealed to lawyers to stand up and said, that through the raids the police will get access to a lot of data that’s protected by attorney-client privilege. Delhi-based lawyer Sherbir Panag said breaching attorney client privilege with little regard for the rule of law, is a matter of deep concern. Advocate Nikhil Mehra pointed out that the warrant issued against Pracha under Section 93 CrPc only permits the “searching” of specified documents.
“Those are the documents on the pretext of which the warrant would have been obtained in the first place. However by seizing the entire hard disk and meta data pertaining to all files, the police have violated the terms of the warrant. Over and above...this will also obviously cause a breach of the attorney client privilege in relation to other cases too, which are not the subject matter of the warrant,” Mehra said.
Noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan too condemned the raids. He tweeted, “First they came for activists; then they came for students; then they came for farmers; now they are coming for their lawyers; Next, they will come for you. Will you call this a Democracy? We will all have to fight this together.”
Court seeks status report on search
A court on Friday sought a status report from Delhi police in relation to the search conducted by it at the office premises of advocate Mehmood Pracha, a lawyer representing some of the accused in the north-east Delhi riots cases. The court was hearing an application by the advocate in which he said the investigating officer (IO) threatened him about filing a false case against him.