Clashes a regular feature on Chennai law college campus, say police

Special Correspondent

Police Commissioner K. Radhakrishnan files affidavit in court

CHENNAI: There is a history of frequent violent clashes between two groups of students and also between the students of the law college here, the police and the public. There are four criminal cases each against Bharathi Kannan and Arumugam, who were grievously injured in the clash on November 12. Six other criminal cases are pending against Chithirai Selvan who was also injured. “Hence, it may be seen that the clashes have been a regular feature between the two groups over a period of time.”

This is stated in the affidavit filed by Chennai Police Commissioner K.Radhakrishnan when petitions relating to the law college incident came up before the First Bench comprising Chief Justice A.K.Ganguly and Justice F.M.Ibrahim Kalifulla on Thursday.

The Commissioner submitted it was the joint responsibility of the principal and police officers on the spot to act in unison to prevent the incident. “Unfortunately, though advance intelligence was available and sufficient arrangements were also made to prevent this incident, those responsible for handling the situation on the spot do not seem to have responded resulting in the clashes and the consequent developments.”

Describing the incident as unfortunate, Mr.Radhakrishnan said police authorities at the scene should have intervened without waiting for any permission from the principal.

Several cases involving law college students were pending before various magistrate courts from 1997 onwards without any progress. Steps had been taken to arrest all the accused concerned in various cases involving law college students earlier as well as in the present case, he said.

Principal M. Mohamed Iqbal, who took charge on November 17, submitted that 26 students involved in the clash have been suspended. Action had been taken by the college authorities to prevent any untoward incident on the campus by closing the college and the hostel indefinitely.

Advocates said the hostel was a refuge for people with criminal cases. Non-students were staying there. The authorities were afraid of taking action. Politicians were instigating students. There was only one lecturer for 120 students. There was no roll-call. After hearing advocates, the Chief Justice said it was only some students who were creating this problem. In his oral observation, he said those students should be identified.

The Bench said all criminal cases against students involved in the incident on November 12 should go on in right earnest. Investigation should be expedited and reach their logical conclusion. The police should not show any slackness. If any one had any grievance in matters of administration by the police, redress could be made only judicially. There should not be any interference by political sources in investigation. The Bench observed that legal education was vitally connected with maintenance of the rule of law and for the proper functioning of the justice delivery system. It was difficult for the court to undertake an exercise for completely revamping legal education in the State; but so far as the law college here was concerned, which was a premier institution in the State, the court thought it had a duty to ensure that reputation of the college should be restored to its past glory.

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