Shaji Purushothaman, prime accused in the Mercedes hit-and run case was not produced before a metropolitan magistrate court in Egmore on Monday due to the continuing lawyers’ strike against the police. Last Friday, the court had directed the prison authorities to produce him to reply to a petition filed by the police seeking his custody.

Lawyers of the Egmore Bar Association are boycotting courts demanding action against police personnel who allegedly assaulted a few other lawyers on last Sunday in MKB Nagar. As the agitation has been continuing, police personnel have been forced to stay away from attending court duties.

Those who came to the court to produce the accused and seek remand were turned away by agitating lawyers.

A policeman who managed to sneak inside said, “We have not been able to enter the court premises for a week as the lawyers are holding sit-in-protests and other forms of agitation against the police force.”

“We cannot discharge court duties such as remand, remand extension and other court work as we were not allowed inside the court complex. And only a few of our colleagues entered into the premises with plainclothes as others were easily identified by them.”

Another policeman said, “In the morning, a detenue under TADA brought in the police vehicle was asked by a few persons not enter the court and however, he was produced before the concerned court after intervention of a few others.”

Advocates began their strike last Monday. After a meeting with the Chief Justice on Wednesday last, they decided that the agitation would be withdrawn. However, again on Monday morning, they boycotted the court demanding action against the police officials. Courts wore a deserted look and litigants were stranded, while the lawyers abstained from the court.

P. Ravikumar, vice president of EBA said, “One week has passed since the assault took place. No action was taken against any police officials as demanded by our members. Hence, we boycotted the court protesting against inaction. In our general body meeting on Tuesday, we will decide on whether to continue our agitation or drop it.”

An office bearer however denied that the lawyers forced the police personnel not to come inside the premises. Police vehicles were found parked outside the court premises and at the end of Adithanar Road.