Lawyers run amok in HC

Chennai, Jan 31 (UNI) The century-old history and prestige of the Madras High Court was lowered on January 30, when the advocates, who resorted to an indefinite boycott of courts over the Sri Lankan issue, created a ruckus by roughing up, manhandling and forcibly evicting those lawyers, who attended the courts. The atrocities was enacted by the group of lawyers in the name of so called 'agitation' to save Sri Lankan Tamils, they claimed. Before Independence and post-independence, the court produced eminent lawyers and jurists, but of late, it has become a haven for anti-socials. It was high dama at the Madras High Court yesterday, when lawyers protesting against the Lanka war, ran amok forcibly evicting their colleagues, including a senior counsel, in the presence of judges, from court halls. Only after the intervention of the advocates assosiation chief, the lawyers left the place. The agitating advocates, neither gave sufficient notice, nor desisted from interfering with the administration of justice in the High Court. Campus rallies and Court boycotts were not uncommon in Tamil Nadu. Last year, 13 man-days were lost in the Madras High Court, compared to the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, where there was just one court boycott. The Madras High Court lists around 2,500 cases daily and the days lost in boycotts, lead to huge accumulation of backlog. For instance, 28 judges, whose courts, were interrupted by advocates on Friday, might not be available to hear the same list of cases for many more weeks, as many of them were part of other benches. In the High Court, the litigant public were not required to attend the proceedings, except in the case of habeas corpus petitions.Impromptu Court boycotts in subordinate courts hit litigants hard, as witnesses and accused persons presence were required to be present at a later date for deposition. In the Harish Uppal case, the Apex Court made it clear and declared that strike by lawyers is illegal. However, not foreclosing the right completely, the court had said that boycotting could be resorted for one day in case of rarest of rare cases. Clarifying the issue further, the Supreme Court had said that three factors should be kept in mind by striking lawyers. Firstly, they should give sufficient notice to the authorities and inform them well in advance about their agitation plan. Secondly, it should be rarest of rare cause. Thirdly, those who opt to appear in court should not be obstructed in any manner.
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