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Lawyers to boycott gang rape accused

New Delhi, Jan. 2: Lawyers of the Delhi area where a fast-track court will try the accused in the December 16 gang rape case have decided not to defend any of them.

The Saket district court bar association passed a resolution to the effect today, a day before police are likely to file the chargesheet seeking the death penalty.

“We have decided that no lawyer will defend them. It would be immoral to defend the case,” said Sanjay Kumar, a member of the bar that has 2,500 registered advocates.

But some frowned on the boycott. “It is the fundamental right of an accused to defend himself in court and the bar’s resolution is unconstitutional. In case no lawyer from the court comes forward, the government would have to appoint a counsel for the accused,” Ashok Arora, a veteran Delhi lawyer, said.

The fast-track court, inaugurated today by Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir within the Saket district court premises, will hold daily hearings.

Kabir called for speedy trial in the bus gang rape, a paramedical student. “Let us deal with the matter in a manner in which we are able to do justice as early as possible. Let us show that the judiciary is behind the common man,” he said.

Kabir justified the public reaction against the incident but said the crime could have been averted had the Supreme Court guidelines on removal of tinted glasses from vehicles been followed. The chartered bus in which the alleged assault took place had such glasses as well as curtains.

“It’s good to know that after the December 16 tragic incident, people have started raising their voices on crimes against women,” Kabir said.

Kabir said four other fast-track courts would be made operational in different parts of Delhi to show “we mean business in tackling matters of such nature”.