Staff Reporter

MADURAI: A section of lawyers in the Madras High Court Bench here decided to stage a novel protest against not providing non-vegetarian food in canteens functioning in various court campuses across the State.

The group led by advocate P. Rathinam, also a social activist, has planned to distribute chicken curry and ‘muttai bonda’ (a snack made with egg) free of cost near the two canteens in the Madurai Bench premises during lunch break coming Tuesday.

Mr. Rathinam criticised court officials for allegedly reprimanding the owner of a bakery in the Madurai Bench premises for selling ‘muttai bonda.’ He urged like minded lawyers to participate in the protest to “uphold their right and regain their dignity.” Claiming that canteens in the Supreme Court as well as the Delhi High Court serve non-vegetarian food, he said that there was no reason for prohibiting such food in the court complexes in Tamil Nadu alone.

“I don’t know why those who eat non-vegetarian food are looked down upon. It is our right. We are not against vegetarianism. We respect others’ rights. At the same time, we want to protect our rights too,” he said.

He pointed out that a memorandum, in this regard, signed by 164 lawyers from Madurai, Chennai, Tiruchi, Karur, Erode and Thanjavur was already handed over to the Madras High Court Chief Justice Hemant Laxman Gokhale.

“The representation was received by the Chief Justice’s office on April 29. Thereafter, I met the Chief Justice personally and requested him to take a decision expeditiously. Yet, they are maintaining silence on the issue,” he said.

Other demands of these lawyers included displaying portraits of B.R. Ambedkar in all court halls and installation of his statue near the life-size statue of Mahatma Gandhi on the Madurai Bench premises.

“Dr. Ambedkar was chief architect of the Indian Constitution. His contribution to Indian judiciary is remarkable. Displaying portraits of the leader would be a fitting tribute to his contributions towards social justice,” the memorandum read.