News Excerpt
The Hubli Bar Association, Karnataka had objected to four students arrested for sedition being defended in court. The Karnataka High Court observed that it is unethical and illegal for lawyers to pass resolutions against representing accused in Court.

Pre-Connect
●    Article 22(1) gives the fundamental right to every person not to be denied the right to be defended by a legal practitioner of his or her choice.
●    Article 14 provides for equality before the law and equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
●    Article 39A, part of the Directive Principles of state policy, states that equal opportunity to secure justice must not be denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities, and provides for free legal aid.

Analytica
The Supreme Court judgement
→    In A.S. Mohammed Rafi v. State of Tamil Nadu (2010), the Supreme Court ruled that “such resolutions are wholly illegal, against all traditions of the bar and against professional ethics”.
→    “Every person, however wicked, depraved, vile, degenerate, perverted, loathsome, execrable, vicious or repulsive he may be regarded by society has a right to be defended in a court of law and correspondingly, it is the duty of the lawyer to defend him.”
→    Court also said that such resolutions were “against all norms of the Constitution, the statute and professional ethics”.
→    The Supreme Court referred to immortal words of Thomas Erskine, Attorney General for the Prince of Wales saying: “… If the advocate refuses to defend from what he may think of the charge or of the defence, he assumes the character of the Judge…”.
→    Court observed that even Nazi war criminals at the Nuremberg trials and terrorist Ajmal Kasab got a lawyer.
Bar Council of India rule on Standards of Professional Conduct and Etiquette
→    An advocate is bound to accept any brief in the Courts or Tribunals or before any other authorities in or before which he proposes to practice at a fee consistent with his standing at the Bar and the nature of the case. Special circumstances may justify his refusal to accept a particular brief.

Conclusion
Rule of law can only be upheld if the right to be defended by a legal practitioner of his or her choice of an accused is well protected. Our legal system is based on “Presumption of Innocence” which means an accused is believed to be innocent till the guilt is proved against him. It is for the judge, not the lawyer, to pass conclusive judgement on guilt or otherwise of the accused.

The Bar Council of India
It is a statutory body established by Parliament under the Advocates Act, 1961 to regulate and represent the Indian bar.

Some of its functions
    Performs the regulatory function by prescribing standards of professional conduct and etiquette and by exercising disciplinary jurisdiction over the bar.
    Sets standards for legal education and grantsrecognition to Universities whose degree in law will serve as qualification for enrolment as an advocate.
    It protects the rights, privileges and interests of advocates and through the creation of funds for providing financial assistance to organize welfareschemes for them.
    To organize legal aid to the poor


PEPPER IT WITH
Section 243 (1) of CrPc, Advocates Act, Professional ethics