Thousands of lawyers in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on Friday boycotted the courts amid protests against the alleged irregularities in the provisional allocation of judicial officers in the two states.
Protests by judges of civil and criminal courts and tribunals have rocked Hyderabad for three weeks now with the lower court judges from Telangana alleging that the process of dividing judges between the two states is unfair.
They say several judges from Andhra have been allocated to Telangana, a decision that will hurt the promotion prospects of local judges.
The Telangana judges are also unhappy over the current status of the high court that is supposed to be shared between the two states. The protesters say the high court judges are biased against them and refuse to work under the “Andhra judicial rulers”.
The suspension of 11 Telangana judges by the Hyderabad high court on disciplinary grounds has widened the rift in the judicial community of the two Telugu states.
Thousands of lawyers from various parts of Telangana boycotted the courts in the state and converged at Indira Park in Hyderabad to take up “Maha Dharna”. They demanded that the suspension of the 11 judges be revoked and Andhra judges posted in Telangana be sent back to their native state by cancelling their options.
Some of the agitating lawyers were arrested by police later.
Telangana Advocates Joint Action Committee has threatened to intensify the agitation till the common high court was divided and options of Andhra judges were cancelled.
“We have decided to take the agitation to Delhi and stage a dharna there. Justice cannot be done to Telangana judicial officers unless the high court is divided,” JAC convenor A Sriranga Rao said.
He said from Saturday retired Telangana judges of high court and lower courts would also join the agitation to protest the suspension of the judges.
Simultaneously, more than 40,000 lawyers across Andhra Pradesh boycotted work in protest against the assault on an Andhra judge in Warangal by Telangana lawyers on Tuesday.
According to a complaint lodged with Warangal Police, first additional district and sessions judge KB Narasimhulu alleged that lawyers belonging to Warangal Bar Association vandalised his court, manhandled him and abused him in filthy language asking him to go back to Andhra.
They staged a sit-in at their respective courts demanding that the Telangana government provide protection to Andhra lawyers working in various courts in the state and also the high court in Hyderabad.
“This is highly condemnable. If there is no security for judges, where is the security for common man from Andhra in Telangana?” AP Lawyers’ Joint Action Committee convenor N Srihari asked.
He clarified that the judicial officers have no regional bias and they have to work wherever they are posted.
“Since Hyderabad is the common capital for 10 years as per the AP Reorganisation Act, the Andhra judges have every right to seek the option to work in Hyderabad,” he argued.
AP home minister N Chinna Rajappa said it was unfortunate that the judiciary too was plagued with regionalism and casteism. “The Centre should intervene and resolve the issue before the agitations take a serious turn,” he said.