Khairlanji: Defence lawyer unruly

21Dec07

 Fast-track court judge S S Das hearing the Khairlanji Dalit massacre trial on Wednesday warned the defence lawyer, Sudeep Jaiswal, for his “flagrant violation of judicial precedence during court proceedings”. As a result, Jaiswal left the court in a huff, though proceedings continued. He did not turn up in the court to take part in the proceedings subsequently.

The hearing began on Wednesday with the Tuesday’s inconclusive cross-examination of prosecution witness Premlal Walke by defence lawyer Madhukar Bedarkar.

After Bedarkar had finished questioning Walke, Jaiswal posed a few questions to Walke. Judge Das told Jaiswal to refrain from asking questions already asked to the witness. However, Jaiswal continued asking repeated questions ignoring court’s observations. This led the judge to warn Jaiswal of the “flagrantly violation of judicial precedence”.

When the questions are almost the same there is no need to ask same questions repeatedly. The defence lawyer has broken all the precedence. Such a behaviour by the defence lawyer cannot be tolerated by the court as the lawyer, in doing so, has expressed disrespect to the judge, Das observed.

However, Jaiswal tried to submit before the court that as a defence lawyer he was duty-bound to ask questions in the interest of his clients-the accused-who, he claimed were falsely implicated in the case. Further, he submitted that there is no provision in act, manual or procedural code or any set precedence that defence lawyer should not ask repeated questions so the word precedence should be changed and word previous norms shall be recorded.

Judge agreed to his submission and made suitable changes but struck off his submission as regards repeated questions. Even as Jaiswal tendered apology, the judge accepted the same, but stuck to his observations. It was then that Jaiswal told the court that he had concluded the cross-examination and left the court in a huff.

Prosecution lawyer and CBI counsel got up from his seat and submitted before the court that it is a mockery of court decorum.

Defence lawyers Madhukar Bedarkar, Neeraj Khandewale and CBI counsel Ezaj Khan assured the court that healthy atmosphere will be maintained by them. Later, the court adjourned after conclusion of Walke’s cross-examination and listed out the next dates of the hearing.

Source: TOI, Nagpur



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