Madras High Court chief justice worried over lawyers’ stir

March 11th, 2009 - 7:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, March 11 (IANS) Chief Justice of the Madras High Court H.L. Gokhale Wednesday expressed concern over the difficult situation arising out of lawyers agitating nationwide while a section of advocates here returned to work after a long break.
“Lawyers are creating difficulties by agitating on various issues solvable amicably through peaceful dialogue. This is happening not only in Tamil Nadu but also on a nationwide basis and is a cause for concern,” Gokhale said.

Gokhale was addressing subordinate judicial officers on the sidelines of a training session within the precincts of the high court.

“The misunderstandings within the legal fraternity must end quickly. Further, the need of the hour is continuing with complete honesty and high moral standards amongst all officials of the court, which include judges and lawyers alike,” Gokhale added.

Work in the courts, however, remained paralysed as most of the lawyers stayed off work against the backdrop of the city police prosecuting over 100 lawyers for burning copies of the interim report on the law and order situation that prevailed in the court premises for three days since Feb 19.

An interim report was submitted to the Supreme Court by retired apex court judge B.N. Srikrishna last week after a probe. He had faulted the behaviour of lawyers and police personnel alike.

“Our strike will continue till police officials who assaulted our brethren illegally and brutally are brought to book. Further, those 30 odd advocates belonging to the ruling party will be removed from all posts in lawyers’ independent bodies,” Madras High Court Advocates’ Association president Paul Kanagaraj told reporters.

Meanwhile, over 30 lawyers owing allegiance to the ruling DMK and those representing various wings of the government returned to work.

“We have understood the gravity of the situation and litigants’ travails and therefore decided to return to work from today (Wednesday). The rest of our brethren should hopefully give up their confrontationist attitude and emulate us,” R.S. Bharati, who heads the DMK lawyers’ wing, told reporters upon returning to work following a ruling party decision.

Two separate benches of the Madras High Court are scheduled to hear cases pertaining to the lawyers’ strike following police action against them and the pelting of Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy with eggs last month.

During police baton charges Feb 19, several lawyers and a judge were injured.

Last week, advocates in Tamil Nadu and the neighbouring union territory of Puducherry rejected Justice Srikrishna’s probe report.

Protests by lawyers have been underway for almost two months now expressing solidarity with the suffering ethnic minority Tamils of Sri Lanka at the hands of the island nation’s army.

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