Ram Jethmalani stated that no lawyer should deny legal aid to Kasab, the lone terrorist apprehended in the Mumbai attcks, and that doing so would be a denial of justice.

The noted lawyer has made a point in this regard. Apart from having a constitutionally guaranteed right to legal aid, the Advocates Act forbids a lawyer to deny legal aid to anyone on the ground that they think he committed the offence. This is a fundamental practice in our legal system because no one is an accused until the court pronounces them as such.

Meanwhile, as Kasab pleads to the Pakistan govt. for legal aid, it must be understood that his trial cannot proceed without him having a lawyer. The way things are going on, any lawyer who defends him would be framed as a terrorist sympathiser. This is a catch 22 situation since lawyers are already refusing to defend him.

Readers may also read this piece on the Right to Legal Aid in India and on why Kasab must not be denied it.

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