Jurists, advocates condemn Delhi Police raid on Advocate Mahmood Pracha

Police allegedly did not follow procedure while carrying out the “malafide” raid and obtained information illegally

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Justice B.G. Kolse Patil (former Judge, Bombay High Court), Chander Uday Singh (Senior Advocate, Supreme Court) and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan (Advocate, Supreme Court) came together on Wednesday to condemn the recent raid by the Delhi Police on Advocate Mahmood Parcha, who they feel is being targeted due to his work with people accused in the February 2020 Delhi violence.

“Mehmood Pracha is a prominent lawyer who has been defending several persons accused by the Delhi police and its special cell, including those accused in the Delhi riots cases,” they said at a press conference in Delhi. “He has also been instrumental in getting FIRs registered against the Delhi Police for their one-sided and malafide investigation resulting in framing the innocent and protecting those guilty in the riots. He has initiated other criminal proceedings against functionaries of the RSS & BJP for their involvement in recent Delhi riots,” explained the trio.

Kolse-Patil, Singh and Bhushan are extraordinary legal luminaries and together they pointed out several lapses of legal procedure by the police. In a statement issued, they began by tackling the search warrant itself saying, “In the guise of executing this warrant the police allegedly wanted to seize the hard disks of his computers. Mr. Pracha however prevented that since that was not authorized by the search warrant. However, the police got access to his computer, inserted devices to access and take away whatever information they wanted or could access from his computers, in an operation lasting about 15 hours.”

Pointing out how the police dodged the requirement to furnish a video recording of the raid, they said, “Though the search proceedings were ordered to be and were videographed by the police, yet the video of the search operation has not been made available to Mr. Pracha, despite his request. Mr. Pracha has complained that the Police officers who came for the search were threatening him by using the name of the Home Minister Amit Shah, and it is therefore imperative that the video recordings be furnished to him without delay.”

The trio also pointed out that given how the email that was used as the basis for the search warrant was readily available to authorities, the raid was basically unnecessary. “Obviously therefore the object of the search was to get hold of all the information in his computer systems which not only contained his personal and private information but in particular contained communications between him and his clients which are protected from disclosure by S. 126 of the Indian Evidence Act as well as Rule 17 Part 2 section 2 of the Bar Council of India rules,” they surmised adding, “This is a gross violation of law by the police and totally malafide.”

They further asked, “Assuming for a moment that it was impossible for the Special Cell to obtain copies of the emails from the recipients, including the Commissioner of Police, why was no summons or order issued under section 91 of the CrPC calling upon Mr. Pracha to produce the allegedly incriminating documents before taking recourse to the drastic remedy of a search and seizure operation?”

They concluded by saying, “This illegal search is particularly ominous and sinister in light of the fact that Mr. Pracha has been instrumental in exposing the Delhi Police in its malafide investigation in the Delhi riots and seeking accountability of its officers. The Supreme Court Bar Association and the Bar Association of India have also condemned these raids, as has the Bar Council of Delhi.”

The entire statement may be read here: 



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