The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the State government to preserve the bodies of all those who died in the police firing in Thoothukudi on Tuesday and Wednesday.
A Division Bench of Justices T. Ravindran and P. Velmurugan passed the interim order on a public interest litigation petition seeking an inquiry into the firing incident by the Thoothukudi principal district and sessions judge and a direction to conduct re-postmortem of the bodies in the presence of representatives of the victims.
After granting time to the government till May 30 for filing a counter affidavit to the PIL petition, the judges ordered that in the meantime, advocates should not be prevented either by the district administration or by the police from providing legal assistance to the victims and their families in Thoothukudi in accordance with the law.
Though Additional Advocate General (AAG) Narmadha Sampath cited imposition of prohibitory orders in the district under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and opposed the petitioner’s plea for permitting advocates to provide assistance, the judges wondered how Section 144 could prevent lawyers from rendering legal assistance to victims.
Earlier, during the course of the hearing, when Mr. Justice Ravindran wanted to know whether postmortem had already been conducted, the AAG said it was being done in the presence of judicial magistrates.