Lawyers take to streets after colleague’s custodial death

May 13th, 2008 - 11:21 pm ICT by admin  

Allahabad, May 13 (IANS) Up in arms against the custodial death of a colleague, hundreds of lawyers of Allahabad High Court and district court took to the streets Tuesday. Infuriated by the death of a high court lawyer, S.P. Awasthi, at a hospital Tuesday, his colleagues blocked the Kanpur Road, pelted stones at the police and set on fire a state roadways bus.

The fire also engulfed some two-wheelers parked nearby. A state government hoarding was damaged.

The angry lawyers claimed that their colleague had been shackled to the hospital bed and was meted out inhuman treatment. His parents R.N. Awasthi and Mamta Awasthi, who reached the S.R.N. Hospital where he died, alleged that the jail authorities tortured their son.

He was in police custody after he was sentenced to a month’s imprisonment April 22 in a contempt of court case. Awasthi, 45, was hospitalised May 6 after his health deteriorated in custody.

The Allahabad High Court Bar Association, which met under the chairmanship of its president V.C. Mishra, adopted a resolution demanding that judges be divested of their powers to initiate criminal contempt proceedings.

The Bar also decided to request the chief justice of India to expedite the transfer of Justice B.S. Chauhan who had sentenced the lawyer. The association believed Justice Chauhan’s transfer was already in the offing.

Bar association chief Mishra said a writ petition would also be filed in the case against the police officers as there were serious violations of human rights.

He said a medical board would now conduct post-mortem of the deceased to ascertain the cause of death.

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