Legal aid to a Terrorist:
Mumbai Terror Attack:
A sinister conspiracy was hatched in Pakistan and in furtherance of that conspiracy a savage attack was unleashed on Mumbai by a team of ten terrorists, including Kasab, who landed on the city’s shores via the Arabian Sea. The attack began on November 26, 2008 at about 9.15 PM and it ended when the last of the attackers, who was holed up in Hotel Taj Mahal Palace, was killed by Indian security forces at about 9.00 AM on November 29. The brutal assault left Mumbai scarred and traumatized and the entire country shocked. The terrorists killed one hundred and sixty-six (166) people and injured, often grievously, two hundred and thirty-eight (238) people. The loss to property resulting from the terrorist attack was assessed at over Rupees one hundred and fifty crores (Rs. 150 Cr.). The dead included eighteen (18) policemen and other security personnel and twenty-six (26) foreign nationals. The injured included thirty-seven (37) policemen and other security personnel and twenty-one (21) foreign nationals. Of those dead, at least seven (7) were killed by the appellant personally, seventy-two (72) were killed by him in furtherance of the common intention he shared with one Abu Ismail (deceased accused no.1) and the rest were victims of the conspiracy to which he was a party along with the nine (9) dead accused and thirty-five (35) other accused who remain to be apprehended and brought to court.
To deal with one terrorist, we cannot take away the right given to the indigent and under-privileged people of this country:
We, therefore, have no hesitation in holding that the right to access to legal aid, to consult and to be defended by a legal practitioner, arises when a person arrested in connection with a cognizable offence is first produced before a magistrate. We, accordingly, hold that it is the duty and obligation of the magistrate before whom a person accused of committing a cognizable offence is first produced to make him fully aware that it is his right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner and, in case he has no means to engage a lawyer of his choice, that one would be provided to him from legal aid at the expense of the State. Continue reading “Right of accused to receive legal aid”