Senior advocate and rights activist Indira Jaising on Tuesday accused the Madhya Pradesh Government of vendetta after she was denied permission to attend the inaugural session of a workshop at the National Law Institute University (NLIU) in Bhopal, for which she had already reached the city. Jaising charged that the refusal had much to do with her appearance for petitioners seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the Vyapam recruitment and admissions scam.
Jaising, who is also the former Additional Solicitor General, had reached Bhopal on an invitation to attend the two-day workshop on “Gender sensitization and capacity building training on sexual harassment of women at work places”, which had been jointly organized by UN Women, the government of Madhya Pradesh and the NGO Lawyers Collective and NLIU.
When Jaising reached the University for the session at 10-30 a.m., the organizers prevented her from going inside, saying the State Government has not provided the “clearances on her name” for the event. At this, she left the venue, but not before making her displeasure known.
“I think it is because of my appearance in Vyapam,” she told The Wire. The meeting went ahead as scheduled.
Talking to the local media, Jaising said, “I condemn this attitude as an attack on the right of clients to legal representation”. She said though the Lawyers Collective, of which she was a trustee, appreciates the efforts of the State Government in spreading awareness of the law, the refusal to allow her to speak the was linked to her appearing for the petitioners.
The organizers defended their actions claiming it was only a “matter of coordination”. Dr Raka Arya, chairman of Gender and Health Loss at NLIU, was quoted as saying that “there was a delay in communication, nothing else.” There was no clarification about what this communication was. Nor were the organizers or the government forthcoming on why Jaising was stopped from entering an event that had no connection with the Vyapam issue.
The senior advocate is representing the petitioners – including former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh — in the Vyapam scam in both the High Court and Supreme Court. She has been appearing in the case along with other senior advocates like KTS Tulsi, Vivek Thanka, Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Kapil Sibal. She described the decision as a government backlash for her stand in the matter.