Legal experts are not surprised with the report that says that the Haryana government is allegedly providing impunity to the alleged lynchers of Junaid Khan, who was brutally assaulted along with four others and then stabbed to death in a local train earlier in June this year. They demanded that the courts should appoint special public prosecutors chosen by the victims’ family in all cases of lynching that took place in the country in the past few years.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Faridabad, YS Rathore, who heard the murder case of the 15-year-old boy, sought action against a senior government lawyer for allegedly helping the accused. “During the examination of witnesses, it has been noticed that one Mr Naveen Kaushik, who is additional advocate general, Haryana, is also assisting the defence counsel representing accused Naresh (prime accused who allegedly stabbed Junaid to death). He was assisting the defence counsel yesterday also at the time of examination of Javed Khan (prime witness number two),” the judge said in an interim order on October 25.
On being told that he cannot appear in the court being a law officer of the State of Haryana along with defence counsel, Kaushik stated that “he has come only to watch the court proceedings”. However, according to the court, he was “assisting the defence counsel at the time of cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses and suggesting questions to be put to the witnesses”.
“This act of Mr Naveen Kaushik, additional advocate general, Haryana, amounts to professional misconduct and is against legal ethics and highly unbecoming of an advocate, particularly because he is a Law Officer in the office of the Advocate General, Haryana,” said the court.
Adding that it is a sensitive case in which “according to prosecution case, one boy of minority community was killed during the quarrel in a train over sharing of seats with passengers of majority community after the deceased was allegedly abused on religious lines”, the judge said in case Kaushik appears along with the defence counsel, “it will send a wrong signal and will also create a feeling of insecurity amongst the victim party and will adversely affect the aim of the court to conduct free and fair trial”.
Judge Rathore added, “Accordingly, a letter has been written to Hon’ble Punjab & Haryana High Court, Chandigarh for taking up the matter with the State Government, Office of Advocate General, Haryana and Bar Council of Punjab & Haryana, Chandigarh for taking necessary action against him.”
Though additional advocate generals are not debarred from private practice, they cannot assist the defence counsel in cases where the state government is a party. In Junaid’s case (‘State of Haryana Vs Naresh Kumar’), the State of Haryana is a party.