Special Correspondent

Says they should have approached high-level panel

CHENNAI: Advocates boycotting courts and taking out rallies on Thursday came in for a mild rebuke from Madras High Court Chief Justice A.P. Shah, who said they should have first approached the high-level committee to redress their problem.

The Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) was protesting against the highhanded behaviour of Joint Commissioner of Police (South) G. Dorairaj towards a senior member of the Bar, S. Duraisamy, on Wednesday. The boycott was near total and meetings, discussions and rallies were held on the occasion.

In the evening, the protesting advocates, including MHAA president R.C. Paul Kanagaraj and vice-chairman of All India Bar Association S. Prabakaran, were informed about a letter from the Chennai City Commissioner of Police expressing regret over the incident.

"The turn of events, which took place on February 14, 2007, is regrettable. If any issue crops up between the advocates and the police in future, it could be brought to the Commissioner of Police so that it could be sorted out amicably. We hope that this will result in an even more cordial relationship between lawyers and the police," said Ms. Letika Saran in the letter addressed to the MHAA president.

Mr. Duraisamy, on his part, said he was convinced by the explanation and did not want any protest that would inconvenience the litigant public.

In the morning, Mr. Justice Shah, who was sitting with Justice K. Chandru, told the agitating advocates that they should have approached the high-level committee comprising judges, advocates and police officers before taking to the streets.

Pointing out that the committee was constituted at the Bar's request, the Judge said advocates, who were also part of the institution, must work to enhance the image of the judiciary. Disapproving of frequent boycotts, he said, "I do not know how courts will function hereafter."