K.T. Sangameswaran

All courts in the State to remain closed on Monday and Tuesday

CHENNAI: Considering the damage on the High Court premises and the injuries to various persons in the incidents on February 19, the Madras High Court on Saturday said these may call for initiation of suo motu criminal contempt proceedings; but it can be decided after the receipt of report calling for names of persons, who were instrumental in the matter.

A Bench consisting of the Acting Chief Justice (ACJ), S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Justices V. Dhanapalan and K. Chandru at a special sitting at the ACJ’s official residence said the Chennai Police Commissioner and the Joint Commissioner (North) (M. Ramasubramani), who was stated to be present on the date concerned (now transferred as DIG, Railways), would file a report as to under whose authority of the High Court they entered the premises to arrest certain accused and at whose instance an order was issued to make a lathicharge by the police and the Swift Action Force.

They would give specific names with designation of officers and constables at whose instance such action was taken. On receipt of the report, the court would decide whether suo motu criminal contempt should be initiated against the concerned persons.

As the overall situation was considered to find out whether the court could be reopened from February 23 and it was found that because of damage to various court halls and buildings the court could not function, the Bench said it took up the matter urgently at the special sitting to decide what steps could be taken.

The Bench said the State government would file its reply why it could not be directed to pay compensation for personal injury and damageto property and all expenses for immediately repairing the court premises, court halls, furniture and lawyers chambers.

To ensure that evidence of damage to buildings, court halls and lawyers chambers was not destroyed because of starting of the court, the Bench directed the Registry to videograph the damaged premises. If necessary, three videography teams may be constituted headed by the Registrars of Vigilance, Administration and Management.

During the proceedings, R.Vaigai, advocate, wanted to present a petition for initiating contempt proceedings, but the Bench asked her to file the petition in the court Registry. She addressed on facts which the Bench had noticed.

According to an official press release, the Principal Seat of the Madras High Court and its Madurai Bench and all courts and tribunals in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will remain closed on February 23 and 24.