The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court directed the CBI to initiate proceedings against lawyers identified in the tainted lawyers' case here on Friday.
A division bench of justice Uma Nath Singh and justice Virendra Kumar Dixit has named more than a dozen lawyers and about 50 of their associates, including some current and former office bearers of prominent bar associations in Lucknow, as those against who the CBI should conduct investigations.
The judges passed the order in a jam-packed courtroom, with the administration deploying a heavy contingent of the Rapid Action Force all over the court campus to prevent untoward reactions by the lawyers.
Lawyers of the subordinate courts have been boycotting hearings since December 4 when a former general secretary of the Lucknow Bar Association, Gauri Shankar Mishra, was shot to death.
The bench directed central and state agencies to look into the economic offences committed by the tainted lawyers. The bench fixed March 18 as the next date of hearing.
All investigative agencies are expected to submit their action taken reports before the court by that date.
The bench also ordered the Bar Council of India and the central government to consider framing of rules to disqualify lawyers who were found involved in criminal acts.
The orders were passed on a petition by city lawyer Prashant Singh Gaur who had complained that a group of lawyers had spread a reign of terror in the city courts.
The victims of the violence perpetrated or engineered by them included litigants, lawyers, court staff and even presiding officers, Gaur said.