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PROTEST: Lawyers block traffic near the Egmore Magistrate Courts on Tuesday. Photo: S.Thanthoni
PROTEST: Lawyers block traffic near the Egmore Magistrate Courts on Tuesday. Photo: S.Thanthoni

Staff Reporter

They allege case was foisted on colleague

CHENNAI: A group of lawyers blocked traffic for over half an hour near the Egmore Magistrate Courts on Tuesday, alleging that Pulianthope police had foisted cases against a colleague, Balamurugan.

Mr. Balamurugan contested the Corporation elections as a Bahujan Samaj Party candidate, losing to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) candidate in Ward No. 40. Subsequently, the two groups had a wordy altercation, and both sides lodged complaints with the police.

After investigation, police arrested Mr. Balamurugan. But as he was being brought to the Egmore Magistrate Court, a group of people assaulted the police escort and fled the scene with Mr. Balamurugan. The group also snatched a copy of the first information report (FIR) and other papers that were to be filed in the court, police said.

Rahamathullah and Sridharan, the policemen escorting Mr. Balamurugan, later filed a complaint with the Egmore police. On Tuesday morning, nearly 50 advocates resorted to a road blockade near the Egmore courts. The protest threw vehicular traffic out of gear in the area. Police diverted the traffic but did not directly intervene to break up the protest.

On Monday, law students blocked the road near Parrys, paralysing traffic in the busy area for over four hours.

Police officers told The Hindu the Madras High Court had recently said that any standoff between police and advocates should necessarily be referred to a high-level committee constituted for the purpose. But the committee existed only on paper, they said.

They pointed out that even during the stand-off concerning a senior advocate and a Joint Commissioner of Police, the Chief Justice had rapped advocates for resorting to protests and boycotts instead of first approaching the committee for an amicable settlement.

Cases involving lawyers

The officers said that several police stations in the city had neither investigated nor registered FIRs on more than a 100 complaints received from or against lawyers. For instance, at the Egmore police station, there are 25 petitions pending investigation. Police had received complaints/petitions against or from advocates in Flower Bazaar, Adyar, Pulianthope, Aynavaram, Kilpauk, Anna Nagar and Ashok Nagar police stations as well. In order not to precipitate matters, station house officers issued a receipt to the complainant and left the matter at that.

However, advocates have their own grouse. "When police take the law into their hands, we have no other go but to seek justice through other means," they argued.

A senior police officer said police and lawyers were two arms of the law, and any dent in the relationship was bound to reflect on the functioning of the system.

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