Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam has come under criticism from his own legal fraternity over what they allege his attempts to conduct trial outside the court for the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Around 20 lawyers at a meeting in the city passed a resolution criticising Nikam and advising him not to sit on judgment in the case before the final verdict is out. A copy of the resolution has been sent to the State Government,urging it to put a gag on Nikam in order to maintain the fairness of the trial.
Some of the comments made by the special public prosecutor during his briefings to the media are objectionable and do not reflect the seriousness of the trial. You get the feeling that he is conducting a trial outside the court when he should actually be taking up those points before the judge and not before the media, said advocate Sushil Mancharkar,who was present at the meeting.
Mancharkar alleged that Nikam was prejudging the judgment. In one of his briefings,Nikam said he would seek Ajmal Kasabs conviction on the charges. How can Nikam comment about conviction? Is he the judge or the advocate? Let the judge do his duty. Why are attempts being made to foretell what will happen and will not in the case? Nikams comments project the court in poor light, he said.
Nikam,who was dismissive of Kasab admitting to his guilt,has also not found favour with lawyers. Since Kasab has admitted to his guilt on some of the charges out of 86,his guilt should be accepted and trial conducted about others to find out the truth. But why is Nikam insinuating that Kasab was doing so as part of his attempts to get a lesser sentence? But again Nikam should not speak about sentencing. He is not the right person to do so, he said.
Satish Gorde,another advocate,said no public prosecutor is ever allowed by the State Government to publicly to speak about any matter that is subjudice. We want to know from the State Government why it has allowed only Nikam to go public about the trial and restrained other public prosecutors across the state from speaking about the trial, Gorde said.
Mancharkar said Nikams comment could invite a contempt of court notice. This happened a few years back when Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray had commented that Sanjay Dutt should get bail in the case involving possession of arms. The court had issued Thackeray a contempt of court notice, he said. W hen contacted for his reaction,Nikam said,No comments.