CJI concerned about violent incidents on Madras HC premises

Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu’s words of anguish in open court about the spiralling incidents of violence indulged in by lawyers on the Madras High Court premises saw the Centre react within a few hours.

Union Law Minister D. V. Sadananda Gowda met the Chief Justice on Monday. “I met the Chief Justice to discuss the issue of violence in the Madras High Court,” Mr. Gowda told The Hindu.

Earlier in the day, senior advocate K.K. Venugopal, representing the Madras High Court, requested a Bench of Chief Justice Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy to send a delegation of three judges of the Supreme Court to the Madras High Court to conduct an inquiry.

However, the CJI dismissed the proposal, saying this would only compound the problems faced by the High Court.

“I have had a very long conversation with the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court. For now, let us give him some time,” the CJI told Mr. Venugopal.

The hearing was regarding the High Court’s challenge to a judicial order passed by Justice C. S. Karnan, but digressed to the recent spate of violence and agitations witnessed by the High Court.

Last week, advocates from both Chennai and Madurai, along with children, held processions in court halls when the courts were in session, demanding that Tamil be made the official court language in the High Court. They then barged into the chambers of the judges, disrupting the suo motu contempt proceedings being held against two advocates of the Madurai Bench. The Chief Justice of the High Court was compelled to order Central Industrial Security Force to protect his judges against the lawyers.

Blasting the Madras Bar associations and the Bar Council for keeping mum on the recent violence by lawyers on the Madras High Court premises, the CJI said he had never before seen lawyers stoop to such low levels, bringing down the name and well-woven traditions of a much-respected High Court with them.

Lawyer associations slammed

“[The] Madras HC judges preside in courts with fear psychosis expecting mobs to come in and attack them at anytime. It was once a traditional court that we all looked up to. Never, before has it fallen to such low levels. All because of you lawyers,” Chief Justice Dattu said following advocate Elephant Rajendran making a submission about the unruliness.

“What is your lawyers’ associations doing about all this? What is your Bar Council doing? In Madras you have three bar associations, still they remain silent,” Chief Justice Dattu remarked.

“Lawyers form different groups based on caste. They take processions in court halls with wives and children... unruly mobs shouting slogans and screaming in court halls. They enter the judges’ chambers,” Mr. Venugopal submitted.

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Printable version | Jun 19, 2021 1:14:51 AM |

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