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Social activist approaches SC on stir in Madras HC campus

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 19:32

New Delhi: A Chennai-based social
activist has approached the Supreme Court seeking action
against the lawyers who had resorted to violent agitation on
the premises of Madras High Court in February this year.

The petitioner, Vishwanath Swami, pleaded the apex
court should intevene in the matter as the state Bar Council
have failed to take action against the advocates.

"As far as Bar Council of Tamil Nadu is concerned,
inspite of being aware of misconduct by a group of advocates
within the High Court premises on several occasions, no action
was ever taken against the erring advocated since 2001," he
said in his petition which is likely to be taken up by the
apex court tomorrow.

The petitioner also pointed out the report of the
Srikrishna Committee, appointed by the apex court to
inquire into the incident, had held that the Bar Council
failed to enforce professional conduct on such advocates in
the state.

"It is obvious that the Bar Council has given tacit
support for violence against the lawlessness and misconduct,"
he said.

"The Advocates Act even provides for a suo motu action
against the erring advocates. Still, the state Bar Council did
not even initiate a formal inquiry against the advocates whose
names with the photographs were published in newspapers," he
said adding more than 170 cases are pending in different
courts of the state pertaining to advocates` misconduct.

The petitioner pleaded trial of all cases relating to
the incident should be transferred out of Tamil Nadu in the
interest of free and fair dispensation of justice.

Justice B N Srikrishna, a retired apex court judge,
had held lawyers guilty of going "berserk" on February 19
inside court premises.

"My view, albeit prima facie, is that the
soft-pedaling policy followed by the Madras High Court judges
has led to the present piquant situation," he said in his
22-page interim report submitted before a Bench headed by
Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan on March 6.

Justice Srikrishna, who expressed his unwillingness to
continue with further inquiry, said "unless a detailed inquiry
is made into the role played by each of the lawyers in the
rioting mob as well as each of the constables and or officers
of the police force, it will be difficult to pin-point the
responsibility on the individuals".

Justice Srikrishna went into the background of the
strike called in protest by lawyers against Sri Lankan
government`s policy against LTTE and termed the soft-pedaling
policy of the acting chief justice as "unfortunate".

The lawyers behaved as "hooligans" and "miscreants"
but the police, which was justified quelling the unruly and
rioting mob of lawyers by use of force, went "much beyond what
was permissible use of force," said the report prepared after
examining written representations and CDs on the incident.

Bureau Report

First Published: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 19:32
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