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All set, but who will defend Kasab?
Vicky Nanjapa | February 25, 2009 17:01 IST
Ajmal Kasab [Images], the lone terrorist captured during the November 26 terror attacks, will cost the exchequer more money -- that is, in addition to the Rs 50 lakh already spent on his secure custody.
The monetary burden of paying his lawyer will also fall on the exchequer. But the tricky question is: Who will defend Kasab?
Three months after his arrest, no lawyer has come forth to defend the Pakistani citizen. Some Mumbai [Images] lawyers appeared willing to be his counsel, but backed out after the Shiv Sena's protests.
Article 21 of the Constitution does not permit Kasab to be unrepresented in court. The Article states that it is the duty of the court to provide legal assistance to every accused and that an accused cannot go unrepresented.
Kasab cannot defend himself as that provision is not available in India's lower courts. That provision is only available when a person is fighting her/his case in a high court or Supreme Court.
Legal experts told rediff.com that the sessions court will have to provide a lawyer for Kasab.
This lawyer will be known as a standing counsel; if the matter reaches the high court, s/he will be known as an amicus curiae.
In such circumstances, the government will pay the lawyer. The amount will be paid from the state treasury. The standing counsel is usually suggested by the judge. However, the counsel has the right to decline the offer as the order is not binding on her/him.
In the event that no lawyer is ready to take up Kasab's case despite the court suggesting names, then the terrorist has the right to seek a transfer of the case to any state where he can get legal representation.