Delhi

Public turned away from courts as lawyers’ protest intensifies

People attempt to open a locked gate at the Saket Court Complex on Wednesday.

People attempt to open a locked gate at the Saket Court Complex on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

Litigants left in the lurch; advocates lock gates, demand arrest of accused policemen

An 80-year-old woman stepped out of an autorickshaw and slowly walked to gate number 3 of Saket Court Complex on Wednesday afternoon. After sitting for over 30 minutes outside the locked gate, she quietly returned.

The woman, Murti Devi, alleged that she was being beaten up by her daughter-in-law and grandson at her Lado Sarai residence while her son had been sick for the past one year. She claimed that her daughter-in-law did not give her food and she had to ask her neighbours for help. The octogenarian said she had visited the court a few times in the past one year, and on Wednesday she had come to meet a lawyer.

There were many like Murti Devi who were unaware of the protest by lawyers and had turned up outside the court in hope of help, only to return back disappointed.

Nizam Khan (48) showed his bruised back and said he had come to the court seeking legal aid as his complaint was ignored at Amar Colony police station. “I am from Jewar and I work and stay at Okhla Mandi. Three days ago, I was beaten up by two persons inside the mandi. They pulled my beard also. I went to the police station and they asked me to get a medical certificate. I gave them the papers, but the police did not listen to me. I had come to meet a lawyer I know,” he said.

‘Lawyer didn’t inform’

Chaman Beghum (50) had taken a bus from Meerut at 4 a.m. and reached Saket Courts in the hope to take her son back home, but she was not even able to see him. He was arrested 10 day ago on charges of theft and his bail hearing was on Wednesday. “I spent ₹600 to come here today. Our lawyer did not tell us about the protest. Now he says, ‘go back’,” she said.

Malti Devi (35), a resident of Kotla Mubarakpur, was in tears because she could not see her husband who was arrested on charges of kidnapping two months ago, and was to appear for a hearing in court on Wednesday. “My husband was the only earning member. Now, I work as a house help and my 10-year-old son is also forced to earn. I cannot go to see my husband in Tihar leaving my kids behind. I do not know what to do,” she said, adding that the public is suffering in the tussle between police and lawyers.

On the other side of the locked gates at Saket Courts, angry lawyers raised slogans against the Delhi Police.

Similar scenes were witnessed at the Rohini Court Complex where hundreds of lawyers sat outside court premises after locking the gates. Two advocates also tried to end their lives.They were rescued by their colleagues.

“We want immediate arrest of the policemen who fired at the lawyers and the ones who ordered it. We also want a Lawyers’ Protection Act to be passed,” said Advocate I.S. Saroha, ex-president of the Rohini Bar Association.

At Karkardooma Court Complex, the protest took a unique turn when lawyers set up a stall and invited the public and policemen to join them for tea. “This is a message to everyone to maintain harmony. We are just demanding the arrest of the policemen involved in the firing,” said Naveen Kasana, media committee chairman of the Shahdara Bar Association.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 4:08:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/public-turned-away-from-courts-as-lawyers-protest-intensifies/article29903862.ece

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