By Amiya Kumar Kushwaha
A special court dealing with coal-block allocation cases has said that coffee-shop and lunch-room conversations of lawyers and judges do not affect court proceedings or decisions in any manner. Special Judge Bharat Parashar’s observation came as a reminder to advocate Rahul Tyagi, defence counsel of two former coal officials, who had submitted that it was the talk of the “bar” that the convicted persons were sent to jail by the court “only on account of their conduct” during the course of the trial.
“In this regard, I deem it appropriate to remind counsel that the coffee-shop talks of lawyers about judges or the lunch-room talks of the judges about lawyers, does not in any manner affect the proceedings in the court of law or any decision being made therein,” the Special Judge said in his order of December 5. The court had sentenced former Coal Secretary H.C. Gupta and two former officials, K.S. Kropha and K.C. Samria, to three years in jail while holding them guilty of conspiring to get the Moira-Madhujore coal block of West Bengal allocated in favour of Vikash Metal and Power Ltd (VMPL).
Counsel Rahul Tyagi, while addressing arguments on quantum of sentence, stated that he will no longer be representing coal officials Kropha and Samria in the court in any matter as his conscience does not permit him to participate in the proceedings as they were “convicted despite knowing that they are innocent”. Responding to the submission made by defence counsel, the court said: “In this regard, it will suffice to state that such kind of statements being made by a defence counsel is completely uncalled for.” The judge opined that it is the sole discretion of the advocate concerned to accept any brief on behalf of a given client or not. (IANS)
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