SC Laments Over Lawyers' Protests in Madras High Court

New Delhi
SC Laments Over Lawyers' Protests in Madras High Court

Judges in Madras High Court have a "fear psychosis" due to the constant threat that lawyers might enter court rooms shouting slogans, the Supreme Court observed today, lamenting that never before has the situation fallen to "such low levels".

This was the remark of the Supreme Court which flayed the "mob mentality" of lawyers of the High Court who created rukus on September 16 when a suo motu contempt proceedings against two leaders of Madurai Bar Association were being heard in- camera.

"Judges in Madras HC sit in courts with fear psychosis. There is always a threat that anytime the lawyers shouting slogans will enter the courtrooms.

"It was once a traditional court that we all looked up to. Never before has it fallen to such low levels. I have had a long long conversation with the Madras HC Chief Justice day before yesterday," Chief Justice of India H L Dattu said.

The CJI, who was heading the bench along with Justice Amitava Roy, also flayed the lawyers associations of Tamil Nadu and Bar Council of India, apex body of advocates in the country, for their inaction.

"In Madras, there are three strong lawyers associations. What are they doing when mobs enter courtrooms with wives and children and shout slogans? The CISF is guarding the judges against unruly mobs of lawyers and their families who scream, shout obscenities against judges. What will the Chief Justice do," the CJI remarked.

"What are your lawyers associations doing. What is the BCI doing? What are they all doing? You are trying to express your grievance here. You people take yours wives and children and demand that Tamil should be the language of the court. What will the Chief Justice do," an anguished bench said when an advocate from Chennai sought the indulgence of the bench to hear him.

The CJI said since 1975, he has not seen such situation in courts as was being witnessed now in Madras High Court.

The observations came after Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the High Court registry, apprised the bench of the recent chaotic scenes when a group of about 100 advocates created ruckus after a Division Bench initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against two advocates of Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court.

"Lawyers form different groups based on caste. They take processions in court halls and chambers with wives and children. They enter judges chambers," Venugopal said and suggested that the apex court send three Supreme Court judges to the High Court to probe the matter.

To this, the CJI said, "Let's give the HC Chief Justice some time. Sending judges from here will create unnecessary problems."

The apex court then adjourned the case for three weeks after taking on record the status report filed by the High Court in the Justice Karnan matter.

On September 16, the Madras HC had witnessed chaotic scenes when a group of advocates created ruckus despite elaborate security arrangements.

The alleged supporters of the two leaders, whose case was being heard in-camera, occupied the corridors of Court No 4 and shouted slogans after being barred from entering the hall where the matter was being heard by a bench.

On September 14, a group of Madurai-based lawyers, including two women, were arrested after they staged a protest before the Chief Justice's bench demanding that Tamil be made official language in the court.

The bench had initiated suo motu contempt proceedings against the two lawyers in connection with a procession taken out by them in Madurai, protesting a high court order making wearing of helmet compulsory, and raising slogans against the Judge who had passed the order and making "defamatory" statements against other judges of the court.

Ongoing tiff among judges of the Madras High Court, as well as with lawyers has been witnessed in the recent past.

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