Law

Judge Seeks Action Against Law Officer for Allegedly Aiding Accused In Junaid Khan Murder Case

In an order, the judge of the trial court hearing the case has accused the additional advocate general Naveen Kaushik of helping the counsel of the main accused by “suggesting questions to be put to the witnesses.”

Junaid Khan.

New Delhi: On October 25, Y.S. Rathore – the judge of the trial court hearing the case of the murder of Junaid Khan – sought action against a senior government lawyer for allegedly aiding those charged in the 17-year-old’s killing.

On June 22, Junaid was stabbed to death on a train to Mathura as he, along with his brothers, was returning home after shopping for Eid in Delhi. The incident of violence sparked nationwide outrage.

According to Indian Express, in an interim order, the additional district and sessions judge, Faridabad, stated that additional advocate general Naveen Kaushik was helping the counsel of Naresh Kumar – the main accused in the case – by “suggesting questions to be put to the witnesses” at the hearings on October 24 and 25.

Judge Rathore said that this action “amounts to professional misconduct and is against legal ethics and highly unbecoming of an advocate, particularly because he is a law officer in the office of Advocate General, Haryana”.

Terming the case as a sensitive one in which according to the prosecution, Junaid was “allegedly abused on religious lines,” Rathore said that Kaushik appearing alongside the defence counsel and providing them assistance would lead to a “feeling of insecurity amongst the victim party and will adversely effect the aim of the court to conduct free and fair trial”.

Kaushik, on his part, has denied the allegations of assisting the defence counsel saying that he had neither appeared in the case nor does he have any connection with it. The lawyer told Indian Express that he had only intervened in the capacity of being  the organising secretary of the Bharatiya Bhasha Abhiyan in the north region – which he clarified helps in getting courts to function in Indian languages. Adding that “the counsel appearing for one of the accused is known to me,” Kaushik said, “He had requested the court that evidence be recorded in Hindi as is provided in the Criminal Procedure Code. On October 25, he asked me if I could provide him the relevant provision of law and so I went there to give it to him,” Kaushik added.

On the allegations that he was assisting the defence counsel, the lawyer told the daily that he was only providing provisions of law regarding the Hindi language. “It was relevant to court proceedings since the evidence was being recorded and there is no provision for translation of evidence in English. It can only be translated when both the parties agree to it,” he said.

According to the order, when Kaushik was instructed by the court that he could not appear with the defence counsel, he had said he was there only to “watch the court proceedings.” Upon being confronted Kaushik had left the courtroom.

Baldev Raj Mahajan, advocate general, Haryana told Indian Express that he did not have any knowledge of Kaushik’s involvement in the case and that appropriate action would be taken against him.

Junaid’s father Jalaluddin had recently filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana high court seeking transfer of the case from the Haryana police to an independent agency. He had also demanded security for his family and the prosecution witnesses.

Earlier this month, the court had rejected the bail plea of Rameshwar Dass – one of the main accused – stating that there was “likelihood of prosecution witnesses being put in jeopardy.”

(With PTI inputs)