Chief Justice of the Madras High Court M. Y. Eqbal has asked senior lawyers, members of various Bars and Federations and the Bar Council of India to “concentrate and deliberate” on the increasing frequency of court boycott and ensure that lawyers participate in the continuing process of rendering justice to poor litigants. Inaugurating the Combined Court Buildings and Sub Judge Quarters at Sankagiri in Salem district on Saturday, he said that senior members of Bar Associations and Federations, who would meet him time and again with a charter of demands, should come forward to take up the issues such as court boycott for discussions and deliberations. The boycott of courts was badly affecting litigants seeking justice.

While accepting the fact that a few boycotts “are genuine,” he pointed out that a section of senior lawyers and others had started distancing themselves from such forums that often called for boycotts. Reacting to the demand of the Federation of District and Subordinate Courts Bar Associations of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry on civil judges' appointment, Mr. Justice Eqbal said that its members asked him not to permit the court staff with law degrees to participate in the selection process of Civil Judge (Junior Division). “Though everyone has the right to appear for a qualifying examination, I, to satisfy the lawyers, conceded their demand.”

But the members of the same federation, he said, met him again and sought age relaxation for the same, to which he disagreed. “You cannot appoint a judicial officer at the age of 55 and expect him to deliver justice for just 5 years.”

He said that fresh graduates also would be permitted.

Pointing out that the Madras High Court had approached the Tamil Nadu government with the proposal that it be given the powers to fill vacant posts of judicial officers, he said once it was given, the dearth of judicial officers could be sorted out. Justice K. N. Basha of the Madras High Court, in his special address, said that various measures were being taken to reduce the pendency of cases. State Law Minister C. Ve. Shanmugam said that the government had made 49 fast track courts and its staff permanentState Highways Minister K. Palanisamy, Salem Collector K. Maharabooshanam, Sankagiri subordinate judge A. Mohammed Jiyaputheen and senior lawyers spoke. Salem Principal District and Sessions Judge S. Baskaran welcomed the gathering. Chief Judicial Magistrate S. Sengottaiyan proposed a vote of thanks.