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Should Ram Jethmalani defend Manu Sharma?

November 03, 2006 13:29 IST

In a long and illustrious career he has defended many unsavoury characters, his choice of clients often raising controversy.


Smuggler Haji Mastan. Indira Gandhi's assassins Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh, scam-tainted brokers Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parikh… Arguably India's finest criminal lawyer Ram Jethmalani's list of clients is as impressive as his skills of cross-examination in the courtroom.


Often facing criticism for his choice of clients, Jethmalani has held firm that one is innocent till proven guilty and everyone is entitled to legal defence – the cornerstone, in fact, of Indian jurisprudence.


But his decision to defend, Manu Sharma, accused of murdering Jessica Lal, has raised eyebrows even among those used to Jethmalani's choice of clients. Mahesh Jethmalani, son of the legal eagle and no mean lawyer himself, has said the entire family is opposed to his defence of Manu Sharma, but his father won't budge.


Jessica Lal's family is traumatised by Jethmalani's decision as well. Friends and supporters of the murdered model, however, have decided to take the Gandhigiri route to persuade the lawyer, and plan to send him flowers and SMSes to dissuade him.


But the senior lawyer is unfazed by the fuss, and says nothing will make him back out of the case.


Do you agree with Ram Jethmalani's decision to defend Manu Sharma? Tell us!