Can I fight court case for myself and others without advocate?

Can I fight court case for myself and others without advocate?

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Question:
Can I fight my own case in court without advocate? Can I also fight this case for my parents who are co-accused in the same case? It is a matrimonial case, filed under Sections 498-A and 406 IPC. I am not an advocate. I am the main accused in the above case.

 

Reply:
You can fight your own personal case in the court. Do not appoint any advocate. Inform the court, when asked, that you want to defend yourself during trial. Being a criminal case, the court may offer you the free legal services of an advocate, but you may decline that if you want to defend yourself.
There is no prohibition in law that can stop you from fighting your case yourself in a trial court.
However, it may not be possible for you to defend the case (in court) on behalf of your parents, even if they are co-accused in the same case, since you are not an advocate. Of course, your parents can also fight their own individual cases themselves. But, if they want to appoint some other person to defend them in court, then such other person defending them should be an advocate.
If all of you are co-accused, and if your parents do not appoint any advocate, then you can cross-examine the witnesses on your own behalf and your parents can adopt your cross-examination (if they are defending themselves). This can perhaps be a via media. But, it may be risky sometimes. So, be careful.
Also be careful that you must know the basic law and procedure, and should also have some basic knowledge of how to defend the criminal charges levelled against you on merits. Otherwise, sometimes, not appointing an advocate can also be like “penny wise pound foolish”. So, take the decision after carefully considering pros and cons.
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About Dr. Ashok Dhamija

Dr. Ashok DhamijaDr. Ashok Dhamija is a New Delhi based Supreme Court Advocate, holds Ph.D. in Constitutional Law, is author of 3 law books, and is an ex-IPS officer. He is the founder of this law portal. Read more by clicking here. List of his articles. List of his Forum Replies. List of his Quora Answers.

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