The Bar Association of India has condemned CBI raids at the residence and offices of senior lawyers Indira Jaising and her husband Anand Grover. It has accused the CBI of assaulting the independence of advocates who were engaged in constitutionally protected activities.

In an official statement, the national investigation agency called CBI’s action excessive, disproportionate and unjustified adding that the raid was an assault on the independence of lawyers who were practicing constitutionally protected activities of advancing human rights and upholding the rule of law.

The CBI had last week conducted searches at houses and offices of Jaising and Grover and his NGO Lawyers Collective in a case of an alleged violation of rules in receiving and utilizing foreign aid, which resulted in blunt reactions from politicians and activists.

An FIR was filed by the central investigation agency on June 13 against Anand Grover, who’s the president of the Lawyers Collective, a voluntary group known for raising human rights issues in courts on the basis of a complaint by the Home Ministry that foreign aid received by the group was used in violation of norms.

The Supreme Court on May 8 had sought a response from the senior lawyers and their NGO on a plea seeking investigation and lodging of FIR for allegedly violating rules relating to receipt and utilization of foreign funds. The PIL was filed by Lawyers’ Voice, a voluntary organization of advocates that alleged that the funds collected by them were misutilised for activities against the nation.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta had issued a notice to the Home Ministry and sought its response on the allegations including that the money received by Lawyers Collective was used to influence political activities.

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Himakshi Panwar