Ever since Ajmal Kasab,the lone terrorist arrested for 26/11 attacks,has asked for a defence lawyer from the state Legal Aid Committee,there has been a rush of lawyers seeking the brief from the registrar department of the sessions court.
As of now,there are 17 lawyers on the legal aid panel who can appear for Kasab as they have sufficient experience in the profession and are placed on the murder panel of lawyers. According to the Maharashtra State Legal Services Rules,there are two panel of lawyers for handling criminal cases under all Acts murder and non murder.
As per the procedure,if an accused seeks a lawyer from the state government,then the court assigns the matter to the criminal registrar department of sessions court. The department then calls for the record and proceedings from the lower court and assigns a lawyer.
Kasab had,on Monday,informed Judge M L Tahilyani that the state government should appoint a lawyer for him as he could not afford one. On Tuesday and Wednesday,the lawyers have been visiting the registrar department seeking the brief,irrespective of the political tension that is certain to follow after getting it. Earlier,lawyers Ashok Sarogi,K B N Lam and Mukesh Deshmukh had faced the ire of political parties and activists,who even attacked their houses,for expressing their willingness to defend Kasab.
However,this time around,the case is different. A lawyer who had approached the registrar department,but did not wish to be named,said: We have been appearing for various state cases and this is no different. We would like to get this brief. Now that a lawyer from among us can take up the case,then why not me.
However,a court source said the appointment of a lawyer will not be that easy. Special Judge Tahilyani has already called for a list of the panel lawyers. A meeting with Principal Judge T V Nalawade,who is also the chairman of the Legal Aid Committee,is likely to happen this week,following which a decision could be taken. The court is likely to appoint a lawyer for Kasab on March 30.