AP Singh, The same lawyer who defended all the convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya Gangrape is going to defend the accused of recent rape case from Hathras.
According to reports, Akhil Bharatiya Kshatriya Mahasabha, an upper-caste body, has reached out to Singh to fight the accused in the alleged gangrape of 19-year-old Dalit Girl, who died during medical treatment at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital.
Constitution allows the accused to put their point in the court, to hire a lawyer of his/her choice. Article 22 of the Constitution of India makes it a fundamental right of every accused to be defended in a court of law. Article 14 also enforces the equal protection of law to everybody. And, Article 39-A makes it a duty of the government to ensure an accused is represented by a lawyer in the court.
The 4 accused in the brutal gangrape case of a 19-year-old Dalit girl from Hathras have reached out to a lawyer who already has peculiar public image when it comes to women. Though, he is also popular for his comments.
When Nirbhaya case’s trial was going on in 2013, he raised a question on character of Nirbhaya asking what she was doing with a male friend late in the night.
Later in an interview, he defended his courtroom behaviour saying, “Should I not ask what the girl was doing with the boy so late at night? It is part of evidence. I wasn’t saying they had a brother-sister relationship or they were out to celebrate rakhi. All I said was that they are friends. Now in their society, boyfriend-girlfriend relation must be laudable, but not in the culture I come from.” He had to face a major backlash after his controversial statements.
He made fun of the protests calling them “mombatti, dhoopbatti, [and] agarbatti” while the protest.
“My parents are simple people, extremely spiritual. They didn’t watch TV, so didn’t have much idea about the protests, Jantar Mantar, Ramlila Maidan, mombatti, dhoop batti, agar batti…” he said mocking the candle marches being held for the victim.
His most controversial and offensive comment he made while talking to journalists was “If my daughter or sister engaged in pre-marital sex and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her on fire.”
Here is another way of AP Singh defending what he did in the Nirbhaya case. He said, “Now if any legal process or recourse is available to an accused or a convict as the case may be, it’s his or her lawyer’s constitutional obligation to see that it’s availed of and followed. The general public should refrain from making irresponsible comments on defence lawyers.”
The case dragged on for seven years before the convicts were hanged in March this year for raping and killing Nirbhaya. AP Singh approached the courts several times to get their hanging deferred.
Notably, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has said that a conspiracy was being hatched in the state by politicising the incident in order to organise an ethnic riot. The UP Police had also filed a lawsuit under IPC sections in Lucknow.