The Madras high court beamed live the proceedings in a contempt case against two lawyers on a large screen outside the complex on Wednesday, an unprecedented move that came days after a group of attorneys created ruckus when the matter was being heard.
A two-judge bench conducted business in a hushed courtroom, a sharp contrast from September 14 when dozens of protesting lawyers shouted slogans and hurled abuses at the judges in an incident that sparked widespread outrage and drew criticism from the Chief Justice of India.
“There is a fear psychosis in the court halls as the judges are on constant lookout for the mob to come in. This is very strange since Madras high court in the past is known to have set high traditions for lawyers,” CJI HL Dattu said following the episode.
People jostled outside the building to watch on the monitor the proceedings in the case against the two advocates from Madurai for undertaking a procession defying a compulsory helmet rule imposed by the high court.
Only the two lawyers against whom the contempt proceedings were taken up and their counsel were allowed inside the courtroom on Wednesday with hundreds of police personnel deployed in the corridors and streets outside.
The court adjourned the proceedings till next Tuesday, saying it would consider any unconditional written apology submitted by the lawyers, A Dharmarajan and AK Ramaswamy, for withdrawing the contempt proceedings.
Justices S Tamilvanan and CT Selvam maintained that it was a very serious matter in which the “decorum of the court and its majesty were concerned and no one would be allowed to trample upon them”.
But Justice Tamilvanan said he “did not agree with his learned brother” and that the contempt case be referred to a larger bench. Justice Selavam said it was being portrayed as a bench versus bar fight, when in reality this was not the case.
“It is unfortunate that some section of the advocates was indulging in illegal activities,” the court said, adding that it was time to put a stop to this.