J. Venkatesan

High Court had ordered suspension

Supreme Court notice to State

New Delhi: Taking note of the fact that the Tamil Nadu government is yet to implement the orders of the Madras High Court directing the suspension of two senior IPS officers in connection with the lathicharge on lawyers on February 19, the Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to stay the March 18 order at this stage.

A three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice J.M. Panchal and Justice A.K. Ganguly, however, issued notice to the State government seeking its response on the special leave petition filed by the two officers. When senior counsel Shanthi Bhushan and Vikas Singh pressed for stay or at least maintenance of status quo as on date, the CJI said, “We will order notice. We are not granting status quo. Let us see the government’s reaction and then we will decide.”

A.K. Viswanathan, Additional Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, Chennai, and M. Ramasubramani, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Coimbatore Range (he was the Joint Commissioner of police (North), Chennai, on the day of the incident) had challenged the March 18 order and sought interim stay of its operation.

Mr. Shanthi Bhushan submitted that the Supreme Court had earlier declined to suspend the police officers. The Bench of High Court Chief Justice also said that this was not a fit case to suspend a police officer ex-parte. But the present order was passed (by another Bench) under the threat of the members of the Bar. This order should be stayed, he said.

The CJI intervened and told Mr. Bhushan, “We did not consider suspension. We thought Judges of Madras High Court know this better.”

When the CJI said that only notice was being issued at this stage, Mr. Singh submitted that no contempt proceedings should be initiated for not implementing the order. The CJI told the Bar leaders, “Don’t do anything in the meanwhile.”

The Bench listed the case for hearing on April 6.

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