CONDEMN THE ARREST OF ADVOCATE UPENDRA NAYAK BY THE ODISHA POLICE!
RELEASE ADV. NAYAK IMMEDIATELY AND UNCONDITIONALLY!
23rd February 2018
The Indian Association of People’s Lawyers condemns the arrest of peoples’ advocate Upendra Nayak by the Paralakhemundi police, Odisha on the night of 20thFebruary 2018. He was produced before the Mohana, Gajapati Judicial Magistrate on 21st February and subsequently sent to R. Udaygiri Jail. Shockingly, he has been arrested in ten criminal cases under serious charges like sedition, waging war against the State and provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, wherein he himself was the advocate defending the accused.
Advocate Nayak is more that 65 years of age and a regular legal practitioner in the courts of Gajapati. One of the southern districts in Orissa, Gajapati is where Adivasis constitute 51 percent of the population in the district. Advocate Nayak has been defending innocent tribals of Gajapati who have been arrested in fabricated and false cases under the name of anti-Maoists operations. Apparently he has been sent to jail for his alleged involvement in the ten cases. All registered way back in 2009 and 2010 in which he successfully defended number of innocents including Arati Majhi, Pasanti Patamijhi, Munita Lakshmi and the trial ended in acquittals. The case of Arati Majhi is well documented by the Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) (https://wssnet.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/arati-majhi-case-from-challenging-impunity.pdf).
However this type of arrest wherein the State has identified a lawyer with the cause of his client, is becoming a common practice in so-called terrorist cases or Maoist trials. IAPL had observed in earlier fact findings to Chhattisgarh and Madurai how Advocates Rekha Praganiya and A. Murugan had been arrested in criminal cases in which they themself had been defending other accused. Special ant-terror laws such as UA(P)A with broad and vague definitions of conspiracy, association and culpability often help the State to do so.
This practice is in violation of the “Basic Principles of the Role of Lawyers, 1990” (Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders) which clearly states that“Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions”. By hindering Advocate Nayak to fearlessly practice his profession and defend his client, the State has also violated Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, a fundamental right, that guarantees a person the right to practice any profession.
RELEASE Adv Upendra Nayak immediately and unconditionally.
STOP identifying lawyers with the causes of their clients.
REPEAL the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act
Adv. Surendra Gadling, General Secretary, IAPL
Adv. Sudha Bharadwaj, Vice-President, IAPL
By Ganatantrik Adhikar Surakhsa Sangathan, (GASS) Odisha
We are deeply shocked with the arrest of senior advocate Upendra Nayak by Odisha Police on yesterday i,e on 20th February, 2018 at midnight. Advocate Upendra Nayak has been arrested of same criminal cases which he was defending his clients eight years back. We condemn it.
Today he was produced before the Mohana JMFC by the Gajapati district police and was remanded for judicial custody and was sent to R. Udayagiri jail.
He has been charged with under section 121, 121-A, 124-A of IPC and various sections of UAPA. Now a defense lawyer requires a lawyer to defend his 10 criminal cases.
Upendra Nayak was defense lawyer of few tribal youths in the year of 2009-10 who were charged with similar sections like 124-A and UAPA. While defending his clients he became the “accused” of same criminal cases.
This is a case of fabrication by the Odisha police and an attempt to encroach the rights of a lawyer to practice his legal profession. This is a violation of fundamental rights of a lawyer.
This is also an attempt of the Odisha police to terrorize legal practitioners so that nobody would come forward to take up the cases of tribals and political activists in future.
We strongly condemn the arrest of Upendra Nayak and demand his release soon. We request civil society members to condemn such heinous move of the government of Odisha.
Dr. Golak Bihari Nath Deba Ranjan
President General Secretary