31 October, 2020

No Houris Inside Our Jails

Why Kasab must have legal defence and why he mustn't hang

Illustration by Sorit
No Houris Inside Our Jails
Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab does not need a lawyer; someone in this country needs a client. That's why some lawyers seem to be amusing themselves imagining that Kasab sought their services and that they declined only to oblige Mother India.

In medieval times, witches were feared, despised and burnt by furious mobs. They never got a fair trial; no one dreamt of giving them one. Prejudice and irrational fear ensured that they got nothing but undeserved punishment.

In modern society, the "spy" has taken the place of the witch, with one vital difference. The danger so-called witches posed was entirely imaginary. Some spies do pose a threat. But to argue that a crime is so vile and dastardly that an accused must not be allowed to demonstrate his innocence is bad law. The measure of a civilisation is the way its society treats those it hates.

It is the duty of every lawyer to defy a bar association resolution that a particular accused should not be defended. So important is the right of an accused to have the services of a lawyer that...


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