MADRAS HC LAWYERS NOT TO RESUME WORK
NEW DELHI, 4 Mar 2009,:
Belying Supreme Court's hope for an early end to the lawyers' strike paralyzing judicial work in Tamil Nadu, advocates from the Madras
High Court bar associations were apologetic in conveying to the Chief Justice of India that it would be difficult for them to resume work immediately.
Responding to last week's appeal from CJI K G Balakrishnan who wanted the lawyers to get back to work as poor litigants were suffering, the leaders of the HC Bar joined senior advocate Harish Salve in pleading that rushing the advocates, hurt physically and mentally by the police excesses, back to work would not be possible and could prove counter-productive.
The SC had last week ordered a probe by retired apex court judge B N Srikrishna into the police-lawyer clash on February 19 within the HC premises and had asked it to submit an interim report on the incident. The report is expected by Thursday afternoon, said Solicitor General G E Vahanvati, who appeared for the Karunanidhi government.
When lawyers said that they, adhering to the CJI's request, were not shouting slogans inside the court rooms and not preventing litigants to appear before the courts, Vahanvati said a few law officers who wanted to argue cases before the HC were not allowed to do so last week.
Salve and other lawyers from Madras HC said it would be prudent to wait for Justice Srikrishna's interim report and take action on that basis against the erring police officials rather than vigorously persuading the lawyers to resume work without even the frayed tempers cooling down.
After hearing the versions, the Bench comprising CJI Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal adjourned the hearing to Friday to await Justice Srikrishna's interim report. But, before adjourning it, the CJI made a telling comment: "The police was successful in stopping work of the HC for an hour or two on February 19. But, you (the lawyers) have succeeded in stalling it for a much longer time."
Vahanvati said the apex court's earlier interim order prohibiting entry of armed police into the HC premises, which also house many trial courts, was hindering production of hardened criminals who needed to be escorted by armed police. The Bench said the Chief Justice of the HC would deal with the issue and pass appropriate orders