KARNATAKA

Court work hit, ministers condemned at mock trial

GULBARGA Aug. 26. The 12-day boycott of courts by the members of the Gulbarga Bar Association entered the second day on Tuesday, and normal work in all courts in the city came to a halt. There were also unconfirmed reports of advocates boycotting court work in a few taluk headquarters.

Members of the Gulbarga Bar Association conducted a mock trial of the six Ministers from the district, and gave them the "death sentence" for their "failure" to persuade the Karnataka High Court to establish a permanent Bench of the court in the district.

The mock trial was conducted outside the court complex. Six persons with their hands tied and hoods covering their faces were made to answer the "charges'' levelled against them.

The "Ministers'', with their names tagged round their necks, "accepted" their failure to protect the interests of Gulbarga district and asked for "capital punishment".

Later, advocates gave the "death sentence'' to all the "six Ministers'' (M. Mallikarjun Kharge (Home), N. Dharam Singh (Public Works), AB. Maalakaraddy (Medical Education), Qamar-ul-Islam (Labour), Baburao Chinchansur (Small Savings and Lotteries), and Baburao Chavan (Libraries and Adult Education), and they were "hanged".

There was some discord among advocates over the language used by a section of lawyers against Ministers during the mock trial.

The issue came up for a brief discussion at the meeting of senior advocates and office-bearers of the Bar Association in the afternoon.

The agitation launched by the Bar Association has received support from various organisations including the Hyderabad Karnataka Horata Samiti, Hyderabad Karnataka Yuva Horata Samiti, Janata Dal (S), Indian Union Muslim League, and Hyderabad Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Offices closed forcibly

Our Dharwad Special Correspondent reports:

The Dharwad Bar Association today continued their boycott of courts in the twin cities of Hubli and Dharwad for the second day today. Members of the association reportedly forced the closure of government offices.

According to B.D. Hiremath, President of the Dharwad Bar Association, they did so as there was no sign of any revision of the decision not to establish a permanent Bench of the High Court.

Although schools and colleges were spared today, their functioning would be affected tomorrow, it was learnt. City transport buses continued to ply in Dharwad and between Hubli and Dharwad.

A joint meeting of the Bar associations of Hubli and Dharwad was held in the court premises, and they decided to organise the agitation together.

Addressing the meeting, Basavaraj Bommai, AIPJD MLC, said the powers granted to the judiciary should be reviewed. The judiciary should not have the power to veto proposals of the Government in such matters, he said, and urged the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, to meet the Chief Justice and explain the sentiments of the people.

After the meeting, a group of members of the Bar Association reportedly forced the closure of the offices of the Deputy Director of Public Instruction, zilla panchayat, and the Deputy Commissioner. They staged a dharna in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner.

`Letter defective'

Our Belgaum Staff Correspondent reports:

The "Action Committee for the Establishment of a Permanent Bench of the Karnataka High Court" has described as "defective" the letter from the Chief Justice, N.K. Jain, to the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, giving the recommendation not to establish a High Court Bench away from the principal seat of the court.

The president of the Belgaum Bar Association and convener of the Action Committee for the establishment of a High Court Bench, S.S. Kivadsannavar told The Hindu soon after a meeting of the committee here on Tuesday that the meeting questioned the need for setting up the seven-member judges' committee to go into the issue. The Bar Association secretary, Dhanraj Gouli, and former MP, A.K. Kotrashetty, were present at the meeting.

The action committee was of the view that an indefinite strike should be launched to pressure the Government to establish the Bench "preferably'' in Belgaum. According to it, lawyers should boycott court work till Saturday, and intensify the agitation later. It would place these proposals before the general body meeting of the Bar Association on Wednesday.

Resolution adopted

Our Bijapur Staff Correspondent reports:

The Bijapur Bar Association today rejected the opinion of the Chief Justice of the High Court against the setting up of a High Court Bench. It passed a resolution to this effect at a meeting presided over by its president, M.G. Mathapati. The meeting demanded that the full text of recommendations submitted by the judges committee led by Justice G.C. Bharuka be made public.

The members, who spoke on the occasion, said the question was not whether North Karnataka needed a High Court Bench, but where it should be set up. They had no objection to a debate over where the Bench should be established, sources in the association said.

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