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Delhi bar chiefs to sue Kiran Bedi for criminal defamation, deny ‘manufactured story’ that they attacked her office & workers

Anti-Bedi protests by lawyers last week
Anti-Bedi protests by lawyers last week

Bar associations in Delhi denied news reports that stated that “a mob of 400-500 people claiming to be lawyers attacked Bharatiya Janata Party chief ministerial candidate Kiran Bedi's office” in her East Delhi constituency.

They also vowed to litigate against Bedi for the false allegations.

Delhi high court bar association president Rajiv Khosla told Legally India that the association will file a criminal defamation case against Bedi.

IBN Live and others had reported that: “A group of people wearing black coats used by lawyers but without a bow protested outside the party's office holding placards 'Kiran Bedi tum NGO chalao, shasan chalana tumhare bas ki baat nai', 'Kiran Bedi avsar vaadi hai, kursi ke liye pehni khadi hai'” (Manage a NGO Kiran Bedi, you cannot be a ruler. Kiran Bedi is an opportunist and has donned khadi clothes for the chair).

Police sources apparently told The Hindu that lawyers were responsible.

Patiala House Court bar association president DK Wadhwa said, when questioned about press reports of the attack: “I don’t think they were lawyers. Lawyers are not involved in this. Do they have any footage to show? CCTV cameras were there. We are opposing Kiran Bedi but there is no stand of the association that we’ll [attack]. We never intended to go to her office or to threaten her. It is only a peace march by the lawyers in her constituency.”

The IBN report added that Bedi’s office staff who had tried to restrain the protestors were also attacked and critically injured.

While some in Bedi’s camp appeared to blame opposition parties, Bedi did not point the finger at anyone in particular, but commented: “It was absolutely unfortunate and it is not the right way to fight elections. Even though they tried to provoke our party workers but they did not react. This is the reason why civilised people are not joining politics.”

Rohini court bar association president Inderjeet Singh Sarohi said: “I was there in the procession yesterday. No such incident as allegedly reported in Delhi happened. It is a manufactured story which has no weight at all. It is just a false allegation. Just to gain the sympathy of the public. We are going to convene a meeting on this and going to condemn it and maybe we’ll go in litigation against her.”

Sarohi added: “It was a peaceful procession. No such incident as alleged happened. The person who is shown to be laying in the hospital is fit and fine.

“It was all managed by her. I was there in the procession. Nothing had happened. Police was there; you can see the CCTVs. The exact report can be taken on the CCTV installed there. You might have seen the videos shown by different channels. Nothing was shown as happened on the site or on the scene. It was only seen in the hospital that she was seen sitting there with the alleged patient. Maximum police personnel were there. I was there as president of Rohini court bar association.”

IBN had in another report mentioned that office bearers of various bar associations in Delhi had come together to issue an appeal to people not to vote for “Lathicharge Bedi”, in connection with a 1988 incident of caning of lawyers by the police on Bedi’s orders.

Last week, bar association lawyers burned Bedi effigies and went on strike, as reported by Legally India.

A Times of India blog by Manoj Mitta explained in detail how the Justice DP Wadhwa Committee had examined the 1988 incident and had severely criticised Bedi, as well as the lawyers’s behaviour before they were attacked by police.

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