Special Correspondent

SALEM: The Salem Retired Police Officers’ Welfare Association has observed that the ‘reluctance’ on the part of the government to initiate stern legal action against those lawyers, who were involved in the incidents of high-handedness in the past, has led to the recent incidents of violence in the Madras High Court premises.

Tracing such ‘unpleasant’ incidents in which a group of young lawyers were found increasingly involved, mainly in the courtrooms of the district and subordinate courts and in High Court, in the past, these retired police officials, who met here for an urgent executive meeting, urged the government not to take any action against the police officials till the judicial probe into the incidents was over.

A retired Superintendent of Police K. Sivasubramaniyan, who is also the association president, told ‘The Hindu’ on Friday that their association had been highlighting these issues whenever such incidents of high-handedness in which police and lawyers were involved were reported. “But nothing concrete has been initiated so far to stem the rot,” he said.

He said that the lawyers-police fracas came to the fore blatantly on June 28, 2007, when the then Mettur Deputy Superintendent of Police Ashok Kumar and Karumalaikoodal police station Inspector Thangaraju, who came to the Madras High Court in connection with a case, were assaulted and abused by a group of lawyers. They also tore their uniforms. This was a sequel to an incident in which a senior woman revenue official in Mettur was abused by a mob when she tried to pacify two warring groups. It led to lathicharge in which two lawyers were injured.

In another incident that took place on November 2007, lawyers attacked the fifth Metropolitan Magistrate S. Muruganandam inside the Egmore court while on duty. They prevented the magistrate from doing duty and also abused and assaulted him. During October 2007, a head constable Natesan was reportedly assaulted at the Government Stanley Hospital.

The association, while expressing anguish over the recent incidents, had urged the judiciary and the State Government to take stringent action against those, police or lawyers, who were found guilty as per law.

“We urge the judiciary, lawyers’ fraternity and the police to evolve a code of conduct for both police and lawyers so that such unpleasant incidents did not recur.