A month after violent clashes between police and lawyers inside the Madras High Court premises, a three-judge bench of the Court on Wednesday ordered suspension of two top city police officials and asked the striking advocates to call off their agitation and return to courts.
The bench, comprising Justice S J Mukhopadhaya, Justice V Dhanapalan and Justice K Chandru, held that prima facie a case had been made out to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Additional Commissioner of Police A K Vishwanathan and then Joint Commissioner of Police (North) M Ramasubramani.
"They were the persons who were at the helm of affairs and under whose direct supervision the operation was carried out," the bench said. The lawyers were demanding action against DGP and Chennai city police commissioner.
The bench also came down heavily on lawyers for their state-wide boycott of courts following the February 19 clash. "It is needless to say that the lawyers have no right to strike, ie to abstain from appearing in the courts in cases in which they hold vakalats for the parties," the Bench said.
It was below the dignity, honour and status of the members of the noble profession of law to organise and participate in strike though, "it is open to the lawyers to adopt some other mode of protest without interrupting or disrupting the court proceedings or adversely affecting interests of litigants. We therefore ask the associations and Bar Council to recall their strike forthwith and resume work", the bench said.