They condemn ‘one-sided' media coverage, ‘police excesses'

The Karnataka State Bar Council (KSBC) and the Advocates' Association, Bangalore, have given a call for lawyers to abstain from court proceedings on Monday to protest against the alleged “police excesses” on lawyers and to condemn the “one-sided” coverage of the media, particularly electronic media during Friday's violence at the City Civil Court complex.

The association has also demanded that the State Government should immediately transfer State Police Chief Shankar M. Bidari and City Police Commissioner B.G. Jyothi Prakash Mirji and hold them responsible for the “police excesses.”

Association president K.N. Subba Reddy told The Hindu that the association will also identify its members, who had indulged in violence and attacked media persons and the police, and initiate action against them as per the bylaw of the association that provided for suspension or removal.

Action on advocates

“We will also take the help of the police, if they have identified lawyers involved in the attack, and take appropriate action against them irrespective of the criminal action initiated by the police. We have also got the video footage on the violence and we are trying to ascertain whether all those who are wearing the advocate's uniform are genuine advocates or impersonated,” he said, adding that such an action was necessary to restore public confidence in advocates, a majority of whom are peace-loving citizens.

Resolutions

Mr. Reddy said that the association, in its meeting held on Saturday, passed resolutions seeking transfer of Mr. Bidari and Mr. Mirji. He also said that a resolution has been adopted requesting all members not to defend media persons in any case against them for carrying “one-sided” coverage on the violence.

“The image of advocates has taken a beating owing to the biased coverage by news channels and many newspapers. The media did not show police brutality on innocent advocates both inside and outside the court complex during Friday's incident, and it has hurt members of the association,” he said.

Alleging that police personnel had damaged about 60 to 70 two-wheelers and about 40 cars belonging to advocates, Mr. Reddy said that several innocent advocates, who were walking out of the court complex, were chased and brutally beaten by the police.

‘External hands'

He also claimed that some “external hands” had instigated the violence as about 100 advocates' coats were purchased by some persons on a single day from the advocates' society outlet on the City Civil Court premises. “We feel that at least some non-advocates indulged in violence wearing advocate's uniform,” he said.

In the resolution passed during the emergency meeting on Saturday, the Bar Council stated that the “partisan coverage was deliberately provocative…it was an abuse of the freedom of the press…”