Some lawyers think they are above law: Supreme Court

May 18th, 2009 - 7:00 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday severely censured some lawyers for their attitude and said they consider themselves “above law” and it would not allow their “hooliganism”.
A vacation bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Deepak Verma made the remarks against the lawyers while hearing a lawsuit by an Allahabad-based doctor, facing charges of murdering a patient who died in his hospital after receiving treatment for two months following a road accident.

The victim, Laxmi Kant Mishra, was a lawyer by profession. After his death local lawyers allegedly got a murder case registered with police against A.K. Bansal, the owner of the Jeevan Jyoti Nursing Hospital.

Bansal came to the apex court seeking protection against his impending arrest.

“Lawyers consider themselves above the law. They are increasingly getting out of control,” remarked Justice Katju, while hearing the lawsuit.

“Let them come to me. I will not allow their hooliganism,” he remarked.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for Bansal, narrated the tale of harassment of his client at the hand of lawyers in Allahabad.

Rohtagi told the court that Mishra had been brought to Bansal’s nursing home in a comatose state after a road accident in February and received treatment at the hospital for two months.

He, however, could not be saved and died April 26 following which over 200 advocates descended upon the hospital and vandalised it, Rohtagi said, adding that they also abused and manhandled doctors and hospital staffers.

Rohtagi said the group of lawyers, using their influence over police, even got a murder case registered against the doctor and began pressurising police to arrest him.

The lawyers even struck work in Allahabad courts May 1 and May 4 and held demonstrations in front of the nursing home demanding arrest of Bansal despite the fact that Mishra’s post-mortem had revealed that he had died of “septicemia and cardio-respiratory” failure, said Rohtagi.

As police refused to readily oblige the lawyers, they moved the Allahabad High Court with the sole prayer to direct police to arrest Bansal, said Rohtagi, adding that they sought the doctor’s arrest even without making him a party to the lawsuit.

Rohtagi also told the apex court that the lawyers did not even allow Bansal to be represented by any lawyer in the high court and thrashed fellow advocate J.S. Sengar, who appeared for Bansal in the high court May 12.

While seeking Bansal’s protection against arrest, Rohtagi also pleaded to the court to shift his trial to Delhi from Allahabad.

Acceding to the plea, the bench ordered the Allahabad police not to arrest Bansal till the disposal of his lawsuit at the apex court.

It also stayed proceeding against Bansal in the Allahabad High Court and issued notices to the victim’s brother S.N. Mishra, who, supported by local lawyers, had moved the high court for the doctor’s arrest.

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