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Villagers perform role of lawyers

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DISPUTE UNRESOLVED: A group of villagers coming out of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court after arguing their case on Tuesday. Photo: G. Moorthy
DISPUTE UNRESOLVED: A group of villagers coming out of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court after arguing their case on Tuesday. Photo: G. Moorthy

Mohamed Imranullah S.

MADURAI: What happens when lawyers boycott court proceedings? The court halls wear a deserted look. The judges remain inside their chambers. And the litigant public go back home disappointed.

All these did happen in the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday except in court hall No. 5, which bustled with activity.

The reason was not that the lawyers had relaxed their protest there but because a group of villagers, who had moved the Bench to resolve a dispute over receiving temple honours (`mariyadhai'), preferred to argue the case on their own.

Justice R. Sudhakar, who heard the villagers from Madurai and conversed with them in the local language, would have probably taken less time to interpret a statute than he did to resolve the dispute. The case was heard for more than three hours.

Plea in vain

Even as the villagers contended each other's right to receive the honours during the annual car festival of Lord Sundararajaperumal (Kallalagar), scheduled for Wednesday, the Judge said: "It is easy for me to dispose of this case on merit in a few minutes. But, when so many of you have come hoping to get a verdict in your favour, I want to make sure that you all join hands and nobody is disappointed."

Adamant lot

The villagers did not relent. When his efforts to convince them on a mutual agreement ended in vain, the judge adjourned the matter saying: "I have spent my valuable time with you. I can't do anything beyond this."

The Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry had called for the one-day boycott of courts on Tuesday in protest against the amendments made to the Criminal Procedure Code recently.

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