Last week, the Gujarat High Court granted bail to a lawyer accused of drafting a false rape complaint, in an attempt to extort Rs 5 lakh from a businessman in a false case.
While granting bail to the accused lawyer Bipin Upadhyay, the bench of Justice Gita Gopinath said that the type of professional advice he gave to the client will be analysed during the trial – whether the same fell within the scope of professional ethics. The advocate practises at local courts in Ahmedabad.
According to the charge sheet, one of the co-accused was used as a bait to entice the witnesses, and a threat of lodging a fake rape accusation was given, following which the co-accused sought a compromise with the witnesses and demanded the money.
It was alleged that the Advocate/Applicant was a co-conspirator, and that a friend request was sent through Facebook in August/September until the complaint was file. People were made victims by giving threats of filing false applications charging them with rape and POCSO, and later money would be extorted as a compromise.
The Advocate/present applicant was allegedly responsible for writing a fake rape complaint for the purpose of its submission to police. It was further submitted that in the said fashion all the co-accused had extorted Rs 5 lakh from the complainant.
Gujarat High Court
At the outset, the Court noted that Proviso to Section 126 of the Indian Evidence Act makes it clear that the professional communications of the advocates are protected from disclosure only to the extent of his advice to his client in the course of his professional employment and for the purpose of such employment but no such protection is given to any communication made in furtherance of illegal purpose.
The allegation made in the complaint is totally an illegal activity and the present applicant being a lawyer ought to have offered himself as a witness to the police, still, however, what kind of professional advice was provided by him and whether his case would fall within the purview of professional ethics would be the matter which would be decided during the trial.
Thus, considering the nature of allegations levelled against him and the punishment prescribed to the sections invoked in the case and when the trial will take its own time to conclude; the Court directed his release on bail.
Author: Shreya Bhandari is a 3rd year Bachelors of Journalism student and currently working as an intern with MDO.
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