Mysuru, January 15 (KMS): Due to pressure from the BJP-led Modi government in Delhi, the Mysuru Bar Association has prevented its lawyers from appearing for Nalini Balakumar, who is facing sedition charges for holding a ‘Free Kashmir’ placard during a protest at the University of Mysore in Mysuru recently.

Nalini, an alumna of the University of Mysore, was recently booked under Sections 34 and 124 A (Sedition) of Indian Penal Code by local police. She was granted interim bail on January 10, following which, she appeared before the police and recorded her statement. She said that she held the ‘Free Kashmir’ placard to spread awareness about the internet shutdown imposed in occupied Kashmir over the past five months. She also made it clear that she had no affiliation with any organisation, and that she was ready to cooperate with the police investigation.

However, on Tuesday the Mysuru Bar Association during its an executive committee meeting passed a resolution, whereby its members were instructed not to appear or render service to Nalini.

S Ananda Kumar, President of the Mysuru Bar Association, confirming the decision said, “So the bar association has called upon the advocates to not represent or render their services to her.”

The lawyers’ move drew sharp criticism from civil society as well as legal experts.

Many from the legal field and constitutional experts also opined that such a resolution by a bar association was illegal and is against the constitution.

Commenting about such resolutions passed by the bar associations, former Supreme Court judge Justice V Gopala Gowda said, “It is a professional duty of a lawyer to render legal assistance to a client.”

Suggesting that lawyers are duty-bound to represent accused, former Justice Santosh Hegde said, “Any advocates’ association deciding not to represent an accused is professional misconduct, in my personal opinion.”

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