Additional Advocate General accused of helping defence Council in Junaid’s case

Chandigarh: The Junaid Lynching case begun its trial and the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Faridabad has sought action against senior government lawyer for allegedly helping the main accused.

The trial court Judge Y S Rathore said that Additional Advocate General Naveen Kaushik was reportedly assisting the council of the main accused Naresh Kumar during the cross-examination of prosecution of witnesses.

The Judge said Advocate Kaushik was “suggesting questions to be put to the witnesses” at the two hearings on 24 and 25 October as per the court records.

Judge Rathore said on 25 October, “This act of Mr Naveen Kaushik, Additional Advocate General Haryana amounts to professional misconduct and is against legal ethics and highly unbecoming of an Advocate, particularly because he is a Law Officer in the office of Advocate General, Haryana”.

The Judge stated the case as a sensitive one in which “according to prosecution case, one boy of minority community was killed during the quarrel in a train over sharing of seats with passengers of majority community after the deceased was allegedly abused on religious lines”, adding that if Advocate Kaushik helps to assist the defence counsel, “it will send a wrong signal and will also create a feeling of insecurity amongst the victim party and will adversely affect the aim of the court to conduct free and fair trial”.

Judge Rathore further added, “Accordingly, a letter be written to Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh for taking up the matter with the State Government, Office of Advocate General, Haryana and Bar Council of Punjab & Haryana, Chandigarh for taking necessary action against him.”

To that Advocate, Kaushik told the sources that “it is a wrong impression” that he was assisting the defence counsel.

“I have not appeared in the case and have no connection with it. I was there only because I am the organizing secretary of the Bharatiya Bhasha Abhiyan in the north region and the counsel appearing for one of the accused is known to me. He had requested the court that evidence be recorded in Hindi as is provided in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). On October 25, he asked me if I could provide him the relevant provision of law and so I went there to give it to him.”

According to what Kaushik said, the Bhasha Abhiyan works for the cause of getting courts to function in Indian languages.

Answering to the question about why Judge Rathore specifically mentioned Kaushik for assisting the defence counsel, “It is a wrong impression. I was giving him the provisions of law regarding Hindi language. It was relevant to court proceedings since the evidence was being recorded and there is no provision for translation of evidence in English. It can only be translated when both the parties agree to it.”

He said according to the day’s order, an application to record the evidence of witnesses in Hindi was made by Advocate Vishal Jolly. The lawyer was informed that “evidence is being recorded in Hindi and separately being typed in English on the computer and same practice is adopted in all the Sessions trials”.

Advocate General, Haryana, Baldev Raj Mahajan the sources that he was unaware of Advocate Kaushik’s appearance in the case and that he would take appropriate action once it comes to his notice. “AAGs (additional advocate generals) are not debarred from private practice except in cases where the state government is a party,” he said.

The Junaid’s lynching case is being tried as ‘State of Haryana Vs Naresh Kumar’.

According to Judge Rathore’s order, when the court told Kaushik being a government law officer he could not appear along with the defence counsel in the case, he said he had “come only to watch the court proceedings”, and only “on being confronted, Naveen Kaushik has left the court room”.

Advocate Kaushik was incidentally also seen at the hearing on the same day where Junaid’s father Jalaluddin filed a petition seeking the case’s transfer to an independent agency from Haryana Police in the Punjab & Haryana High Court. He also sought security for his family and prosecution witnesses.

“It is the grievance of the petitioner that the statement of all the witnesses has been deliberately distorted to introduce ambiguity, discrepancies and contradictions, with the calculated interest of benefiting the accused,” Jalaluddin’s counsel said in the plea adding that a person who was among the attackers was made a witness to help the accused.

The High court had earlier dismissed the bail plea of one of the main accused, Rameshwar Dass, saying, “there is every likelihood of prosecution witnesses being put in jeopardy”.