Mumbai: Usually it is very difficult for one to make some tough decisions especially when it pertains to his/her career. Whether to go with the majority or opt to walk a less travelled path, which makes all the difference.
A similar decision was taken by advocate Farhana Shah way back in 1993, who had entered the legal fraternity just before two years i.e. 1991 – the time when she was working as a junior. The juniorship is a time when advocates learn the basics and abc of law and also how to argume before the court.
In March 1993, the city witnessed a series of blasts which was a result of the tension between the Hindu and Muslim community. That was the time when Farhana, a teenager and a new joinee in the legal fraternity took a difficult decision to appear for the arrested accused in the court.
Even after facing flak from the society for her decision to appear and represent people who were accused of killing hundreds of lives in brutal blasts, Farhana was firm on her decision. And this decision proved to be the best in her life and not to forget the difficulties and the harshness she faced because of it.
Since 1993 till date, Farhana has appeared for nearly 90 accused persons in the case including Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt to several acquitted accused like Ahmed Langda, whose brother Farooq Takla was arrested last week.
In other words, out of the total 27 years of her career, Farhana has dedicated 25 years to this case. This case has become the part and parcel instead a very integral part of her life. She has appeared and argued for these accused not only in the special TADA court but also in the Supreme Court of India.
Speaking exclusively with The Free Press Journal, Farhana said, “This case has taught me everything in my life. I have got the opportunity to work with so many senior counsels and argue before judges and several courts be it district courts or the Apex court.”
“I started with being a junior and now major part of my life I have argued in this case. It can be said that I come to courts on a daily basis mostly for this case only. This case has given me everything in life right from name fame to learning and understanding my field in a better manner,” Farhana said.
Her decision to represent the accused has though proved to be a boon for her career but not for her personal life. “After some years of appearing for the accused in the case I got married. My husband has been very helpful and supportive to me from day one but yes my family too has suffered because of my decision. I remember some of the friends of my husband had cut off all the connections from him and not to forget the innumerable threats received by my family and me,” Farhana recalls.
Farhana adds, “Apart from all this I have also made several good friends and have become familiar with the family members of my clients. We have developed a natural relation and bond. I remember that Sanjay Dutt along with his father and sister had come to my wedding. This was a surprise but yes it was a gesture of the love and affection the family had for me.” It may be noted that during the first part of the trial in the case which was delivered by special judge Pramod Kode, out of the total 123 accused, 23 people were acquitted. Of these acquitted persons, 12 were represented by Farhana.
“Not only this but the moment when the judge presiding over the Supreme Court pronounced his verdict accepting my submissions and resultantly commuted the death sentence of 10 clients (accused in blasts) into life, I was very much happy. That was the biggest moment of my life and I consider it to be one of the biggest achievement of my life. The fact that I have been able to save 10 lives was the best thing for me,” Farhana recalls.
Twenty-five years have passed but that is still not the end for Farhana’s journey as she is currently appearing for Farooq Takla, who was extradited and produced before the special court last week. Now she is busy preparing her arguments and case to save Takla.