The Bar Association of India (BAI) Monday condemned CBI searches at the residence and offices of senior advocates Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, saying they amount to an "assault" on the independence of lawyers "engaged in constitutionally protected activities".
In a statement, the association termed the action as "excessive, disproportionate and unjustified".
"The BAI condemns the excessive, disproportionate and unjustified action, which amounts to an assault on the independence of lawyers engaged in constitutionally protected activities of advancing human rights and upholding the rule of law," the statement said.
The CBI had last week searched residences and offices of Ms Jaising and her husband Grover, and Lawyers Collective in a case of alleged violation of rules in receiving and utilising foreign aid, attracting sharp reactions from politicians and activists.
The agency had filed an FIR on June 13 against Grover who is the president of 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 top court on May 8 had sought response from Ms Jaising, Mr Grover and their NGO on a plea seeking investigation and lodging of FIR for allegedly violating rules relating to receipt and utilisation of foreign funds.
The PIL filed by Lawyers' Voice, a voluntary organisation of advocates, alleged that the funds collected by them were misutilised for "activities against the nation".
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta also issued notice to the Home Ministry and asked its response on the allegations including that the money received by Lawyers Collective was used to "influence political activities".
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