The country is shocked and saddened by the brutal assault of an eight-year-old child in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh. The shock and sadness among people can be understood.
Any society which calls itself civilized will understandably be rattled, agitated by such heinous crimes. More so, if they are living in the same society or in its immediate neighborhood.
Hence, people will always react to such rarest of rare crimes by calling for a total Bandh, staging a protest and boycotting the accused. They have no other way to make them heard, make governments accountable for law & order situation and; ensure that the justice is done. And rightly so.
Thus Mandsaur and neighboring Neemuch district residents’ call for a bandh to register their protest against the crime can be understood.
The stand taken publicly by local Anjuman Islam head Yunus Sheikh that the accused would not be accorded any burial space after his death, can also be understood.
The people demanding that the accused be hanged for the crime, can also be understood.
The chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan backing the death sentence, can also be understood.
But what is NOT UNDERSTOOD is the publicly taken stand by the Mandsaur Advocates’ Association.
The advocates’ association has decided against providing legal representation to the accused.
The advocates deciding against providing legal representation to the accused is like a doctor deciding against providing medical remedy.
There is more to it.
When an advocate or advocates’ association decides against providing legal remedy to a person, it takes upon itself the role of a judge. Doing so means — forgetting the difference between an accused and a culprit.
Advocates begin with the basic premise that whatever their client is saying is true. And their client may actually be telling the truth. Boycotting an accused means not undertaking any such effort. Finally, the role of an advocate is to help the judge in dispensing justice; and bringing to fore the inadequacy in law. In this effort, he may unveil the real or other culprits too.