Delhi rape case defence lawyer may lose licence

A lawyer for two men sentenced to death for the fatal gang-rape of an Indian student could lose his licence for remarks that “reek of misogyny”, a regulatory body said on Sunday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Mon 16 Sep 2013, 11:24 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 4:39 PM

A. P. Singh, the counsel for Akshay Thakur and Vinay Sharma, has angered the Bar Council of Delhi with his outbursts after death sentences were passed on Friday on four men for the assault on the 23-year-old woman in New Delhi last year.

Singh told a section of the local media that he would have “burned my daughter alive” if she was having “premarital sex and moving around at night with her boyfriend”. He was apparently referring to the victim, who died of grievous internal injuries after being lured on to the private bus by a gang of six following a cinema trip with her male companion on December 16. The only allegations against the character of the victim have been made by some of the defence lawyers, who have produced no evidence.

The Bar Council said Singh’s comments amounted to “professional misconduct”, and it would consider cancelling his licence at a meeting on Tuesday.

“How can he say anything like this? His comments reek of misogyny,” Surya Prakash Khatri, chairman of the council, said AFP.

“We can go to any extent. We can cancel his practice permit,” he added. Singh could also face a separate “contempt suit” for questioning the death sentence and shouting at the judge inside the courtroom, Khatri said.

“This is injustice! This is not a victory of truth. You have acted under political pressure,” Singh shouted after the sentence was read out. Khatri said Singh must explain on what basis he made the “damaging allegations” against the judge.

The Hindustan Times on Sunday quoted Singh as saying he stood by his remarks. “I stand by all my statements made inside and outside the court. I will not apologise. Let the notices come, I will file my reply,” he told the newspaper.

He could not be reached by AFP for comment on Sunday.

Singh, as well as the lawyers for other convicts, have said they would appeal the convictions in the Delhi High Court.

The December attack, in which the student was repeatedly raped and assaulted with a metal rod, sparked widespread anger at the treatment of women in India. The fifth suspect in the case, bus driver Ram Singh, died in prison in March in an apparent suicide.

A sixth member of the gang, who was a minor at the time of the assault, was sentenced last month to three years in a reformatory, the maximum penalty allowed under India’s juvenile laws.

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