NCHRO deplores the ongoing harassment of Lawyers Collective
NCHRO in no uncertain deplores the targeted criminalization the office bearers of Lawyers Collective including Senior Advocate Anand Grover and Indira Jaisingh.
The Central Bureau of Investigations(CBI) has registered a case against Lawyers Collective, an NGO run by senior lawyers of the Supreme Court. The case has been registered on a complaint from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that the collective has broken some provisions in the FCRA.
Lawyers Collective is a group of lawyers with a mission to empower and change the status of marginalised groups through the effective use of the law, and engagement in human rights advocacy, legal aid and litigation. Its trustees are well known legal luminaries like Justice Hosbet Suresh, Norma Alvares who was awarded the Padma Shri in 2002, Mihir Desai an academics like Nilima Dutta and Sanober Keshwar of Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
Lawyers Collective office bearers had taken up sensitive cases against the leading figures of the BJP and the Government of India, including the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case in Gujarat, in which Union Home Minister Amit Shah was a main accused until he was discharged in 2014. They represented activists detained in the Bhima Koregaon case and represented former Gujarat IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in his applications to have a Supreme Court-monitored SIT probe into two FIRs filed against him by Gujarat Police. Anand Grover, was part of a lawyers’ team to petition the Supreme Court on behalf of the 1993 Mumbai blast convict Yakub Memon hours before he was to be hanged. Indira Jaising was the first Woman Additional Solicitor General in the Supreme Court.
This harassment is patently political, aimed to create a climate of fear and intimidation and illustrative of the Hindutwa regime’s characteristic intolerance of independent dissent.
The NCHRO expresses its support to the Lawyers Collective, appeals to the leaders of civil society, human rights movements and intellectuals to rally behind it and to put pressure on the authorities to desist from intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders, and retaliatory prosecutions and misuse of criminal law. We stand in solidarity for the release of other human rights defenders who are being targeted simply for their work to ensure justice.