An oral statement made by the First Bench of the Madras High Court on Monday that it was not opposed to advocates arguing in Tamil prompted lawyers to use Tamil in the principal seat and at the Madurai Bench.

In Madurai, a large number of lawyers continued court boycott for the ninth day on Tuesday in support of the six lawyers, who were arrested on June 18 after they went on a fast demanding the use of Tamil in the High Court.

Only a small group of lawyers attended the court proceedings besides the government counsel. A.K. Ramasamy, secretary of Madurai Bar Association, appeared in plainclothes as a party-in-person to argue a public interest litigation petition filed by him to provide adequate medical treatment for the six lawyers. Initially, he pleaded in Tamil before a Division Bench, comprising Justice K. Suguna and Justice C.S. Karnan, seeking permission to move the PIL on the same day considering the urgency in the matter. The judges, who also spoke in Tamil, conceded his request and said the matter would be heard by the Bench comprising Justice M. Chockalingam and Justice M. Duraiswamy.

When the matter came up before the other Bench, Mr. Ramasamy argued the case entirely in Tamil but for two English words: ‘prayer' and ‘para' (paragraph). However, Mr. Justice Chockalingam stuck to English. When the lawyer thanked the Bench at the end of the arguments, the judge, in a lighter vein, asked: “What for ‘nandri' (thanks)? You are doing your duty and we are doing our duty.”

P. Rajendran, a government advocate, too began his arguments in Tamil before Justice R. Mala, who was hearing bail and anticipatory bail petitions. However, he switched over to English later.

In Chennai, a lawyer's request to the first Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday to speak in Tamil was given a patient hearing by the Judges.

Advocate Ramesh, whose case was listed to be taken up on Tuesday, appealed that his petition be speeded up. He had challenged a State government order, which said that MA degree obtained from an open university would not be considered for appointment to government service.

After the advocate sought permission from the Bench comprising Chief Justice M.Y.Eqbal and Justice D.Murugesan, he presented the facts of the case in Tamil. The second Judge on the Bench translated the advocate's request for the benefit of Justice Eqbal.

The Bench then said that the petition would be taken up next week.