A day after striking lawyers of the Punjab & Haryana High Court clashed with the Chandigarh Police, High Court Chief Justice A. S. Sikri took suo motu notice of the strike and stayed the investigation into the case against them.
The lawyers, who had called a two-day strike after Wednesday’s fracas, have decided to continue their agitation till Friday.
The Chief Justice issued notices to the Punjab Home Secretary, the Inspector General of Police, the Senior Superintendent of Police and the Punjab & Haryana High Court Bar Association asking them to submit their replies by March 11, the next date of hearing.
He also directed the Registrar (Vigilance) of the High Court to conduct a fact-finding enquiry.
The row broke out on March 4 when a cop of the Chandigarh Police slapped senior advocate Rupinder Kholsa after a verbal duel between the two over entry with a smart card from the main gate No. 1 of the High Court. At this, some junior lawyers beat up the constable, who was later hospitalised for his injuries.
Later the Chandigarh Police registered an FIR against Mr. Khosla and 19 other lawyers, provoking the Bar association to agitate for withdrawal of the FIR.
Meanwhile, high drama prevailed at a day-long meeting of the Association on Thursday when K. S. Dhaliwal, president of the Association, unilaterally called off the strike around noon. This was strongly objected to by almost the entire bar, forcing the president to revoke his decision and continue the strike on Friday.
The agitating lawyers have decided to chart their next course of action on Monday, after the respondents submit their replies to the Chief Justice.