The agitation was brought to an end after the Chief Justice assured the lawyers that he would depute one more judge, apart from the present allocation of 14 judges.
The Madras High Court Chief Justice M. Yusuf Eqbal’s visit to the Madurai Bench on Thursday worked wonders with the lawyers agitating for three days here as they agreed to suspend their court boycott, demanding allocation of more judges, and resume work with immediate effect.
The agitation was brought to an end after the Chief Justice assured the lawyers that he would depute one more judge, apart from the present allocation of 14 judges, to the Madurai Bench from the second week of August. He also offered to spare the bungalow, reserved for the Chief Justice, for the additional judge to be posted here.
During a brainstorming session with the lawyers, the CJ pointed out that the judges strength could not be increased in the Bench due to paucity of bungalows. At present, the court campus has only 12 bungalows and two of the judges were already residing in an alternative accommodation.
Long time back, the High Court had sent a proposal to the State Government to allocate funds for constructing four more bungalows. But after considerable loss of time, only recently, the Government sought for a revised estimate for the project, which too was sent on March 1 quoting Rs. 4.88 crore.
In a separate meeting, the Chief Justice asked Additional Advocate General K. Chellapandian to expedite the clearance for the project with the top officials in the government. He wanted the construction work to begin as early as possible so that one more judge could be posted in the Bench after the new bungalows were ready.
He rejected the suggestion of asking judges to stay in private accommodations here on the ground that he could not compromise with their security.
The Chief Justice, who flew in from Chennai, offered to talk with the Bar leaders on condition that they apologise for having hurt the feelings of other High Court judges by their behaviour during the agitation.
Acceding to the condition, office bearers of the Madurai Bench High Court Advocates Association (MBHAA) as well as Madurai Bench of Madras High Court Bar Association (MMBA) expressed their regret. The Women Advocates Association in the Bench had already expressed its disapproval of such behaviour and had also condemned it in strong terms.
The Chief Justice too impressed upon the lawyers about the importance of maintaining a cordial relationship between the Bench and the Bar.
He pointed out that judges and lawyers must have mutual respect for each other and that it was in Indian culture to apologise if one had hurt the feelings of the other.
He also assured to post additional court staff to the Madurai Bench through transfer from the Principal Seat in Chennai. Immediately after the talks, the Chief Justice presided over court proceedings to hear civil cases. Then again, the office-bearers informed the Chief Justice in the open court hall about their decision to suspend the agitation.