Pointing out that courts are public properties and not meant for only judges and lawyers, Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen on Wednesday appealed to lawyers to withdraw their decision to indefinitely boycott court proceedings in connection with the March 2 rioting at the City Civil Court complex.

‘Don't obstruct'

“You should not obstruct [those] coming to the courts. The public should not feel they are unrepresented,” the Chief Justice told K.N. Subba Reddy, president of Advocates' Association, Bangalore, when he [Mr. Reddy] requested the Chief Justice to withdraw the police force deployed at the subordinate courts here Wednesday morning.

Mr. Reddy, pointing out that the police contingent made the legal fraternity uneasy, termed the action “unfortunate”. He said most lawyers favoured withdrawal of the boycott but were upset with deployment of police force. However, Chief Justice Sen said the police were not deployed at the court complex on March 2, but they were central security men. He also pointed out that “other elements can [indulge in] arson on court premises and police are required to be there”. He said: “In the last 10 days, many a time, assurance [of withdrawing the boycott] was given and a statement was made, and you have reneged on it. Nobody is saying that you should not espouse your cause. Who caused the incident? Somebody has incited everyone. We also want to know what your plan [on boycott] is. We want complete resumption of work.”

Mr. Reddy left the court hall informing the Chief Justice that he would discuss the matter with the members and report back later in the day.

Forces withdrawn

The Rapid Action Force (RAF) and other central security forces, which were deployed at different subordinate court buildings in the morning, were withdrawn by afternoon. The Principal City Civil and Sessions Judge later wrote to the Home Secretary to deploy minimum security for the subordinate court buildings.

Meanwhile, the Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice and Justice B.V. Nagarathna adjourned to March 21 the hearing on a batch of public interest litigation petitions relating to the March 2 violence.