The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Brinda gets the best for Biman fightback

New Delhi, April 27: Left Front chairperson Biman Bose has roped in one of the country's most expensive and consummate constitutional experts to seek relief from the Supreme Court in a contempt of court case.

Yesterday, Fali S. Nariman, Rajya Sabha MP and a luminary in the field of constitutional law, argued on behalf of Bose in the apex court.

Calcutta High Court had sentenced the CPM leader to three days' imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 for making derogatory remarks about the judiciary after he criticised a ruling banning rallies and processions between 8 am and 8 pm on weekdays in the city.

Bose filed an appeal against the sentence in the Supreme Court.

Nariman has secured a temporary reprieve, with the Supreme Court staying the high court's sentence.

The CPM has its own lawyers who could have handled Bose's case but the party says it wanted the 'best'. It picked Nariman even though he does not come cheap.

'There were certain issues in the case which go beyond party matters,' said Brinda Karat, the CPM politburo member who requested Nariman to fight the case. 'I met him and asked him to take the case. We are extremely grateful that he agreed,' she said.

'He is one of the most eminent constitutional experts. We wanted to deal with the matter on a professional basis,' Karat added. She said she was not aware of Nariman's fees or what was paid to him.

Although his charges are high, colleagues say: 'Fali Nariman does not always go after money.' According to them, he 'understands the case ' the cause and also the position of the petitioner ' before fixing his fee'. The suggestion is that Bose may not have paid the market rate. The fee that a lawyer charges his client is privileged information.

Those who know him claim that Bose's attempts to raise funds for the case motivated Nariman to take it up. Last week, the CPM leader camped on the premises of Vitthalbhai Patel House in the capital, asking people to contribute one rupee each. 'Fali Nariman did not press for his usual fee and, in fact, took a token amount to argue the case,' these sources claim.

Nariman argued in the Supreme Court that Bose had not cast any aspersions on the judiciary or the judge concerned, but had only criticised the ban. The fundamental rights chapter of the Constitution guarantees 'freedom of speech and expression' and Bose was exercising this right when he criticised the judgment.

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