Legal fraternity in Kolkata feels let down after High Court's castigation of CBI lawyer
A day after a bench of the Calcutta High Court pulled up a lawyer representing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for his failure to respond to queries on the matter, members of the legal fraternity in Kolkata
Kolkata: A day after a bench of the Calcutta High Court pulled up a lawyer representing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for his failure to respond to queries on the matter, members of the legal fraternity in Kolkata expressed their concern and said that it is a shame if a lawyer appears before a court unprepared. Some even said that this is unethical. Such practices are followed in lower courts and adjournments sought by unscrupulous members of the Bar to extend the matter and 'milk' litigants in order to keep their practices going. However, in this case, the lawyer in question is a Special Public Prosecutor for the CBI.
"How could somebody representing an agency like the CBI appear before the High Court without full preparations? That too when the petitions pray for urgent hearing of the matter? Now, the matter will only be heard in June. The whole purpose is defeated. This was a petition praying for cancellation of interim bail to two murder accused as they may abscond or influence witnesses. Now, he has ample time to do both. The other accused have also received anticipatory bail," a senior lawyer of the High Court said.
Advocate Kali Charan Mishra was representing the agency before the bench of Justice Debangsu Basak and Justice Bibhas Ranjan De on Tuesday when the faux pas occurred. Justice Basak posed certain questions regarding the matter to Mishra but he failed to come up with answers. Finally, the court observed: "It is unfortunate that the petitioner is being represented by an advocate who is unaware as to the facts of the case. He is unable to render any assistance to the Court." The bench then directed the matter to be listed on June 6.
The matter pertains to allegations of post-poll violence in West Bengal after the 2021 Assembly elections. After hearing petitions by Opposition parties in the state, the Calcutta High Court had directed the CBI to probe the allegations.
One such allegation was from Usthi in South 24-Parganas. A complaint was lodged on May 3, 2021 at the Usthi Street Police Station by one Rup Kumar Bar against Rajesh Sardar and five others. It was alleged that Sardar barged into Bar's residence with his associates and started assaulting family members. Sardar and his henchmen were allegedly armed with guns and iron rods. The FIR states that after Sardar and the others had assaulted Bar, his elder son and elder brother, they were confronted by his younger son. The youngster was shot in the chest and declared dead at the Baneshwarpur Primary Health Centre.
Sardar and one of his associates were arrested while the others absconded. However, Sardar and the other accused were granted bail by a court in Alipore while the three absconders succeeded in obtaining anticipatory bail in separate orders. These orders were challenged by the CBI in the High Court on Tuesday.
"This is a serious matter. A lower court has granted bail to two accused facing murder charges. Three others have been granted anticipatory bail. The accused will be moving around freely and influencing investigations by the CBI. The CBI lawyer should have known that certain questions would be asked by the High Court. He should have appeared before the bench adequately prepared. What is the use otherwise? He seemed to have no clue about any of the petitions moved. Such activity is shameful and shows the entire fraternity of lawyers in poor light," another senior advocate noted.
He also spoke about how the CBI has been let down by its legal team in the past as well. "The Agency may do its bit while investigating a matter but the courts have to be satisfied before they pass judgement. This has been happening all too often. Maybe, the CBI should take a call on its choice of lawyers, particularly when they approach the High Court," the lawyer said.