Over 150 lawyers from across Karnataka on Tuesday signed a vakalatnama to appear for Nalini Balakumar, the former Mysuru University student who is facing sedition charges for holding a “Free Kashmir” placard at an anti-CAA protest. A vakalatnama is a legal document that empowers a lawyer to act for and on behalf of the client.
Advocate Anis Pasha, who is the President of the People's Lawyers Guild and Srinivas Kumar, Secretary of All India Lawyers Union, were among signatories on the vakalatnama.
This vakalatnama comes after a week after the Mysuru Bar Association passed a resolution not to represent the former Mysuru University student who is facing sedition charges for holding a “Free Kashmir” placard during an anti-CAA protest at the university campus.
Following the move by the Mysuru Bar Association, many lawyers in Bengaluru had released a collective statement condemning the move by the Mysuru Bar Association. They said such decision of the Bar Association is not only against professional ethics and the duties of lawyers under the Bar Council of India Rules but also as being ‘antithetical’ to the values embedded in the Constitution of India.
It may be recalled that the police in Mysuru had booked Nalini and organisers of the protest against sedition after videos of the placard were circulated. Nalini was granted interim bail by a Mysuru court on January 11 after she furnished a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh. The next date for hearing the case has been fixed on January 24. Till the case is disposed of, she can’t leave the jurisdiction of the court as part of her bail conditions.
According to media reports, five lawyers appeared for Nalini during Monday’s hearing, which was adjourned shortly as the prosecution sought more time. Among them, four lawyers were from Bengaluru and one advocate was from Davangere. The police have confirmed no arrests have been made in the case.