Submission to UN Human Rights Committee – 4th period review of India
13 juni 2024

Submission to UN Human Rights Committee – 4th period review of India


During its 141st session, from 1 July to 23 July 2024, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (‘the Committee’) will examine India’s implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR or Covenant), in light of the State Party’s fourth period report under article 40 of the Covenant.

In the context of this review, Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) and the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) wish to bring to the Committee’s attention some issues of concern pertaining to India’s implementation of the ICCPR.

This submission highlights a number of such concerns relating to the lack of independence of the legal profession in India, threats and harassment faced by Indian lawyers, and the consequences thereof for the protection of certain Covenant rights.This report will provide information on issues and questions raised in the List of Issues, though not exclusively, that have an impact on the proper functioning of lawyers and the consequences thereof in India. The concerns shared in this submission are particularly relevant for the Committee’s evaluation of India’s implementation of the right to a fair trial under Article 14 ICCPR, as said right relates to the independence of the legal profession and how it is essential to the protection of other Covenant rights.

Throughout this report, L4L and IBAHRI have brought attention to the lack of independence of the judiciary and its institutions, reflecting on the incremental politicization of such organs and the chilling effects this has had on the legal profession, notably, on lawyers’ ability to guarantee their clients a fair trial and practice their profession free from unfair intervention.

L4L and IBAHRI have further highlighted the numerous forms of harassment that lawyers in India have been faced with in recent years. Such harassment has been reported by lawyers in India to have intensified in the past few years, starting from online harassment, threats and administrative hurdles to falsified criminal trials, prolonged pre-trial detentions and physical attacks. Such findings are complemented by individual cases shared by interviewed lawyers.

L4L and IBAHRI conclude their submission by finding that the right to a fair trial, as guaranteed by article 14 ICCPR, cannot be found to be guaranteed in India’s current context and in light of the severe challenges faced by the legal profession. They urge the Indian authorities to adopt recommendations pertaining to the safety and security of lawyers, on policy and legal reform, on professional bodies and associations and on the administration of justice.

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