9th May, 2018
Lawyers Collective strongly condemns the incident in Tiz Hazari court on 4th May 2018 during the ongoing strike of advocates, wherein a female advocate Afshan Pracha, who was attempting to appear for her client was badly manhandled by the executive members and advocates on strike.
She was not allowed to appear in the court and was ‘gheraod’ by the advocates. On her resistance she was abused and intimidated with sexual profanities. She was unable to leave the premises and was physically assaulted. Her phone was broken, she was inappropriately pushed in a vulgar manner and her modesty was outraged. The male advocates threatened her publicly with rape and murder. Advocate Pracha was manhandled, her hair brutally pulled and now she suffers form abdominal pain from the physical assault. She managed to reach out to the Additional Sessions Judge Prashant Kumar and reported the matter to him, the Judge took cognizance and reported the matter to the police and an FIR has been registered. We have learnt that all District Court Bar Associations have called for a strike today to protest against the CJM who has registered the FIR and has alleged that he is in “connivance” with her.
We seem to be living in times where judges of the court are being attacked for doing their job. The strike today is against the learned CJM for having registered the FIR against the office bearers of the Association. Those who wear a black coat and gown and appear as lawyers, must first respect the law if they want justice for their clients. If the FIR is “false and fabricated” as they claim, nothing prevents them from approaching a competent court of law to quash the FIR, rather than strike against the action of the magistrate in registering an FIR. This is nothing short of obstructing the administration of justice.
It is now apparent that women lawyers are not safe inside court premises. We demand a security audit of the district courts to ensure that the fundamental rights of women lawyers to work in a safe environment is secured. We condemn the fact that Sexual Harassment committees have not been set up in District courts all over the country and demand that they are immediately set up.
Lawyers Collective stands in solidarity and support of Advocate Afshan Pracha against the hooliganism and threats by members of the Bar. No woman should be subjected to such acts of violence and extreme abuse under any circumstances. We condemn that this horrific incident occurred in the court premises which is meant to be the defender of law and order.
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