Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana High Court has condemned the “unjustified/illegal raids” conducted by the National Investigation Agency at the residence of Dr. Shelly Sharma, Advocate (Member of HCBA & DBA, Chandigarh).
The Bar Council chairman Suvir Sidhu has written a letter to Director General of National Investigation Agency to immediately supervise such actions, take due note of such excess/take appropriate action and restore the rights, dignity, and pride of the legal fraternity that has purportedly been infringed.
NIA conducted raids at 50 places, covering residences of alleged gangsters in 3 states including Punjab and Haryana in connection with the case registered to probe the ”emerging nexus” between terrorists, gangsters, and drug smugglers.
NIA also raided Dr. Shelly Sharma, Advocate’s residence on Tuesday morning. The Agency allegedly checked her rooms, laptops, some documents and took away two phones.
In a statement issued, the State Bar Council said that the Agency is expected to be fair and operate consistent with constitutional norms, but, such raids being conducted by a premier agency, on baseless grounds is reflective of such ‘police excesses.
“The grounds and manner on/in which these raids were conducted are a matter of grave concern for the entire lawyers’ community in particular and litigants in general. Advocates are protected under special attorney-client privilege and the right of each citizen to pursue his/her legal remedies by engaging a lawyer of choice. The NIA cannot raid a lawyer’s residence-cum-legal office in this manner and look into privileged communication, as has been done in this case whereby phones and other electronic means have been seized. Such raids can only be understood to be purposely designed to intimidate and deter the advocates from pursuing the cases on behalf of accused/victims/convicts,” the letter reads.