Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights – Tamil Nadu, (CPDR-TN) strongly condemns the arrest of Advocate Murugan, Secretary Centre for Protection of Civil Liberties (CPCL), on 8th January by the Tamilnadu Q branch police. The police had gone to his house in the early morning 4 o’clock, in the pretext of search operations with the search warrant order from Karur district magistrate. And the Q branch police arrested him under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) sections 18(a), 18(b), 20 and 38 & IPC 120(b) for allegedly arranging shelter for two women Maoists who were arrested in Karur five months before. And they took with them all the case documents , files, preparations for final arguments for some cases, some common books and Homeopathy medicines & medical book.
Advocate Murugan has been in the civil rights activity for more than 10 years and has been in the forefront taking up the cause of political prisoners cases including that of maoists. He has also been representing the two women maoists arrested five months before in Karur. The court had issued search warrant of Advocate Murugan, in compliance with the Q branch, in the Karur case. The order issued by the district magistrate should have ordered restraint on the search, as he must know that advocates , who are regarded as officers of the court, are part and parcel of the court and play vital roles in the administration of justice, are bound to be in possession of all documents for reference and defence of their clients who are accused before court of law.
Section II of Bar Council of India 1975, in part VI chapter II provides for duties of advocates towards his clients. Rules 15 and rules 19 has relevance to the same.
Rule 15 states that “ it shall be the duty of an advocate fearlessly to uphold the interest of his client by all fair and honourable means without regard to any unpleasant consequences to himself or any other. He shall defend the person accused of a crime regardless of his personal opinion as to the guilt of the accused, bearing in mind that his loyalty to the law which requires that no man should be convicted without adequate evidence”.
Rules 19 states that “an advocate shall not act on the instructions of any person other than his client or his authorized agent”.
And “ an advocate should not by any means, directly or indirectly, disclose the communications made by his client to him. He shall also not disclose the advice given by him in the proceedings if it does not violate section 126 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.”
Advocate Murugan, in defence of maoist clients being Indian citizens has only been discharging his duty as under the provisions of advocate acts and it was not in any way violative of the legal provisions and he is entitled for practice of his profession as guaranteed under 19(g) of Constitution of india. Without any such restraints the karur Court’s compliance with Police, the search warrant leaves Q branch the high possibility of utilizing any defence materials of the advocate to implicate him in the same case he is defending. This is a fundamental violation of the right of the advocate to defend his client and lack of protection from the court leaves total violation of fundamental right to justice of the advocate and thus his client.
CPDR-TN considers the issuance of search warrant on a court office without any restraints for safeguarding his legal professions and practices guaranteed by Bar Council of India rules and Indian Republican Constitution suffers from lack of application of mind.
CPDR-TN condemns the branding and arresting of any Advocates defending the accused under UAPA and insists that courts should regard that no one is guilty until proved before law and provide complete protection for such advocates to ensure legal provisions.
CPDR-TN condemns the highhandedness of Tamilnadu State police in arresting Advocate Murugan and implicating him in the same case as the client he is defending as per the legal provisions.
CPDR-TN insists that Advocate Murugan should be released immediately, unconditionally and all cases foisted upon him be withdrawn and return all the case files and documents taken forthwith.
S. Gopal, General Secretary, Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights – Tamil Nadu, (CPDR-TN)