Dubai: The residences and offices of one of India’s most high-profile lawyers, Indira Jaising, have been raided by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the country’s premier investigating agency.
The raids started early Thursday morning at 5am at the lawyer’s home in New Delhi’s leafy Nizamuddin East area. Simultaneous searches were carried out at her offices in Delhi and Mumbai. The CBI has filed a case against the lawyer and her husband Anand Grover for alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA).
A well known public figure, Indira Jaising is noted for her decades of legal activism in promoting human right causes. The lawyer told a big battery of media people gathered outside her home that she was being targeted for the human rights work that she and her husband have done over the years.
The opposition parties were swift in their denunciation of the raids. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal took on Twitter to condemn the raids. “I strongly condemn CBI raids on well-known senior advocates @IJaising and Mr Anand Grover. Let the law takes its own course but subjecting veterans who have all through their lives fought for upholding the rule of law and constitutional values is clear vendetta,” he tweeted.
Noted Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan described the raids on Indira Jaising as ‘a clear act of vendetta’. “Registration of cases & raids by Govt agencies has now become the way of govt to harass & intimidate opponents,” he wrote on Twitter.
CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury accused the government of ‘targeting’ former additional solicitor general Indira Jaising after the CBI began raids at their residences and offices. “While the law must take its course, brazen targeting of well known and respected senior advocates by the government via its agencies raises serious questions about its intentions,” Yechury said in a tweet.
Many journalists and members of the civil society were livid at the manner and timings of the raids.
Pertinently Jaising has a huge body of work, having worked on some of India’s most important cases relating to discrimination against women. She is a pioneer in forming landmark laws against domestic violence, against sexual harassment at workplace. Her husband, Anand Grover, a leading lawyer himself, represented India’s LGBT community and was instrumental in getting Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, struck down from the country’s law books.
Who is Indira Jaising
Indira Jaising is often hailed as India’s top most human rights lawyer. Starting her legal career 1960s, she was the country’s first woman to be designated a Senior Advocate by the Bombay High Court. Jaising was elected to represent India at the UN on the committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against women (2009 to 2012). She was the first woman to be appointed Additional Solicitor General of India and served till 2014 representing the government in the Supreme Court of India. She is considered one of the most vocal critics of the Narendra Modi government.
What is the case against her?
Indira Jaising is not directly named in the foreign funding case. Her husband Anand Grover is booked under FCRA. The primary charge is against the NGO, Lawyers Collective, that is run by both Indira Jaising and Anand Grover. As per the authorities there are discrepancies in the working of the NGO. In June this year, the home ministry suspended the FCR account of Lawyers Collective saying that Jaising had violated the FCRA norms.