CJ takes serious note of protest near HC despite COVID-19 threat

Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Amreshwar Pratap Sahi on Thursday took serious note of a ‘Fill the Jails’ agitation conducted by Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath (TNTJ) right next to the court campus on Wednesday, despite the threat of COVID-19 looming large.

When advocate K.P. Chandrasekaran sought his permission to move an urgent public interest litigation petition seeking criminal action against the Jamath, the Chief Justice disapproved of such a protest having been organised unmindful of the Coronavirus outbreak.

After the lawyer claimed that the police had failed to prevent a huge number of protesters from gathering at the Esplanade Road on the basis of a call given by TNTJ, the Chief Justice warned that the court would have to take a very serious note of such lapse on the part of the police. However, State Government Pleader V. Jayaprakash Narayanan told the court that a huge batch of cases filed both for and against anti-CAA protests were pending before a Bench of Justices M.M. Sundresh and Krishnan Ramasamy and they were scheduled to be heard on Friday.

Following such submission, the Chief Justice told the advocate that he shall order listing of his case too before the same Bench. Later, in the day, a PIL was filed in the name of 31-year-old advocate P.C. Saranya seeking action against the Jamath for having organised the protest.

In the meantime, senior counsel R. Vaigai filed a memo in the High Court on Thursday urging the Bench led by Justice Sundresh to adjourn the hearing on the batch of cases by three weeks since a large number of lawyers gather in the court hall during the hearing of the cases.

The memo, signed by many other advocates including S. Jimraj Milton, K.C. Karl Marx and L. Parvin Banu, stated that the cases do not require any urgent hearing since newspapers had reported that the anti-CAA protesters across the State had suspended their agitations to avoid COVID-19.

Only urgent cases

Further, referring to a notification issued by the High Court on Tuesday, as per the instructions of the Chief Justice, the senior counsel pointed out that it clearly states that only urgent cases would be taken up for hearing and that other matters would be adjourned.

“During the hearing of these cases, there has been an extraordinary crowd of lawyers packing the court hall and causing a high risk of the spread of the virus. It goes against the advisory issued by the Chief Justice… Unfortunately, despite the advisory, we are exposed to grave risk,” the lawyers said.

Their memo went on to read: “As responsible members of the legal profession, we do not want to endanger others by crowding the court nor do we wish to put ourselves at risk. Therefore, this honourable court may be pleased to postpone the hearing until normalcy returns.” The memo would be placed before the Bench on Friday.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2020 3:18:02 AM |

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