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Freedom Rule of Law

Delhi Court rejects plea by Mehmood Pracha against raids at his office

The Magistrate held that the courts cannot interfere in data collection, holding that the objections raised by Pracha were baseless

Sabrangindia 26 Mar 2021

Mehmood Pracha

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Dr. Pankaj Sharma disposed of Advocate Mehmood Pracha’s application challenging Delhi Police Special Cell’s second raid, after observing that the objections raised by him are baseless.

LiveLaw reported that the order read, “The plea of the applicant about his offer of target data in pen drive can only be considered by the IO subject to the issue of admissibility and Court’s intervention is not proper and also accused cannot dictate the IO about the mode and manner for collection of evidence in an investigation. Accordingly, in the considered view of this Court, the objections raised by the applicant are baseless. Let the search warrant be executed in accordance with law subject to the safeguards as per the expert opinion.”

The order further states, “The expert opinion reflects that if the hard disc is submitted in FSL the ‘target data’ can be retrieved without any alteration to the meta data associated with ‘target data’, without creating any evidential vulnerabilities as the data will be retrieved forensically. Also, it will not affect the data stored in hard disc relating to other clients of the applicant”, reported Bar & Bench.

Judge Sharma further said that the collection of evidence was intrinsic to the investigation and “hands of the investigators cannot be tied” to prevent them from collecting evidence. On the issue of reliance under section 126 of the Indian Evidence Act (attorney-client privilege) and Bar Council Conduct Rules, the Court observed that such a reliance was “misplaced” as the same envisages voluntary sharing of data /communication by the Advocate or deposing against the client, according to LiveLaw.

On March 9, the Delhi Police’s Special Cell raided the office of Advocate Mehmood Pracha who represents many people accused in the Delhi violence for the second time. Thereafter, Pracha had moved the court and the judge stayed the operation of the search warrant issued by the Special Cell, till the pendency of the application.

Pracha had submitted, “It is my fundamental and constitutional right to protect the interest of my clients. To save their integrity. They have deliberately put my and my client’s life under threat. This is also sensitive data. They want to act under their political masters. I cannot give such data. If you want to hang me, do it. But I cannot sacrifice my attorney privilege communication.”  

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Pankaj Sharma of the Patiala House Court had also directed the Delhi Police to file its response on how it proposed to access Mehmood Pracha’s computer and his pen drive, without disclosing any information pertaining to his other clients.

Related:

Advocate Mehmood Pracha’s office raided again!

Delhi court stays search warrant for Adv. Mehmood Pracha’s office raid

Mehmood Pracha raids: Delhi court asks police how they plan to protect lawyer-client privilege

Delhi Court rejects plea by Mehmood Pracha against raids at his office

The Magistrate held that the courts cannot interfere in data collection, holding that the objections raised by Pracha were baseless

Mehmood Pracha

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Dr. Pankaj Sharma disposed of Advocate Mehmood Pracha’s application challenging Delhi Police Special Cell’s second raid, after observing that the objections raised by him are baseless.

LiveLaw reported that the order read, “The plea of the applicant about his offer of target data in pen drive can only be considered by the IO subject to the issue of admissibility and Court’s intervention is not proper and also accused cannot dictate the IO about the mode and manner for collection of evidence in an investigation. Accordingly, in the considered view of this Court, the objections raised by the applicant are baseless. Let the search warrant be executed in accordance with law subject to the safeguards as per the expert opinion.”

The order further states, “The expert opinion reflects that if the hard disc is submitted in FSL the ‘target data’ can be retrieved without any alteration to the meta data associated with ‘target data’, without creating any evidential vulnerabilities as the data will be retrieved forensically. Also, it will not affect the data stored in hard disc relating to other clients of the applicant”, reported Bar & Bench.

Judge Sharma further said that the collection of evidence was intrinsic to the investigation and “hands of the investigators cannot be tied” to prevent them from collecting evidence. On the issue of reliance under section 126 of the Indian Evidence Act (attorney-client privilege) and Bar Council Conduct Rules, the Court observed that such a reliance was “misplaced” as the same envisages voluntary sharing of data /communication by the Advocate or deposing against the client, according to LiveLaw.

On March 9, the Delhi Police’s Special Cell raided the office of Advocate Mehmood Pracha who represents many people accused in the Delhi violence for the second time. Thereafter, Pracha had moved the court and the judge stayed the operation of the search warrant issued by the Special Cell, till the pendency of the application.

Pracha had submitted, “It is my fundamental and constitutional right to protect the interest of my clients. To save their integrity. They have deliberately put my and my client’s life under threat. This is also sensitive data. They want to act under their political masters. I cannot give such data. If you want to hang me, do it. But I cannot sacrifice my attorney privilege communication.”  

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Pankaj Sharma of the Patiala House Court had also directed the Delhi Police to file its response on how it proposed to access Mehmood Pracha’s computer and his pen drive, without disclosing any information pertaining to his other clients.

Related:

Advocate Mehmood Pracha’s office raided again!

Delhi court stays search warrant for Adv. Mehmood Pracha’s office raid

Mehmood Pracha raids: Delhi court asks police how they plan to protect lawyer-client privilege

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