Haryana Additional Advocate General Naveen Kaushik resigned Wednesday from the government panel of lawyers after the judge in the Junaid Khan murder trial said he was seen assisting the counsel for the main accused in the case.
Advocate General Baldev Raj Mahajan told The Indian Express that Kaushik had submitted his resignation and it had been forwarded to the government for acceptance. Additional Chief Secretary (Home) S S Prasad too confirmed that Kaushik had sent in his resignation. Official sources said Kaushik had been asked to resign in view of the October 25 order of Faridabad Additional Sessions Judge Y S Rathore who noted that Kaushik was seen “suggesting questions to be put to the witnesses” at the trial last week.
As reported by The Indian Express Tuesday, the judge had sought action against Kaushik for “professional misconduct”, saying 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”.
Fifteen-year-old Junaid, his brother and two cousins were attacked on a Mathura-bound train in June by a mob which also hurled communal slurs at them. During the attack, Junaid was stabbed to death. The trial court framed charges recently against main accused Naresh Kumar, Rameshwar Dass and others.
Mahajan said Kaushik, in his explanation, said he was on leave on October 25 and was in Faridabad because his father was admitted in a hospital there. “He has said that he was in the courtroom only in connection with legal provisions on language that he had to hand over to the counsel there,” Mahajan said
Kaushik was not available for comment on Wednesday evening. But last Sunday, he told The Indian Express it was just a coincidence that a lawyer friend, who was representing main accused Naresh Kumar, had called him and sought legal provisions for recording of evidence in Hindi during the trial.
Organising secretary of the Bharatiya Bhasha Abhiyan — it’s a lawyers’ group advocating use of Indian languages in court functioning — Kaushik had said he had gone to the courtroom only to hand over copies of the legal provisions to the counsel. “I have not appeared in the case and have no connection with it. It was a wrong impression,” Kaushik said of the court order which said he was assisting the defence counsel.
Junaid’s family has filed a plea in Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking transfer of the case to an independent agency. They allege police have diluted charges against the accused. The case was listed for hearing Wednesday but could not be taken up.
Senior advocate R S Cheema, lawyer for the family, requested the High Court to list the case for immediate hearing in view of the ongoing trial in Faridabad. The plea will be taken up for hearing on Thursday. Cheema told The Indian Express that they are seeking a stay on all proceedings in the trial court till the High Court decides on their plea for transfer of investigation from Haryana Police.