Hundreds of lawyers of the Calcutta High Court ransacked the Chief Justice's courtroom, breaking windowpanes and preventing him from attending the court on Friday.
The lawyers — all young advocates — resorted to vandalism after their demand for adequate space to sit in the court premises were not heeded.
Instead of allotting them space, the court authorities assigned a room for court officers, who had also been demanding space.
Immediately after the bar body announced its decision to continue its boycott of all courts from Monday, Chief Justice Mohit S. Shah was transferred to the Bombay High Court.
But Union Law Ministry sources in New Delhi said Chief Justice Shah’s transfer to Mumbai was routine and had nothing to do with the lawyers’ agitation. The sources said Justice J.N. Patel of the Bombay High Court was likely to take charge as the new Chief Justice.
The lawyers’ agitation began before midnight on Thursday when hundreds of policemen entered the court premises and evicted the lawyers from courtroom no. 20, which was allotted to court officers.
“Some men and women in plain clothes, claiming to be cops, forcibly entered the courtroom and started assaulting us. They also snatched our valuables,” said Rana Mukherjee, secretary of the High Court Bar Association.
After the alleged police assault the lawyers called a statewide agitation to cease work from Friday night.
“The bar body deplores the calling of the police into the court premises and the lathicharge on lawyers, including women advocates. This is unprecedented. Therefore, from Monday, no lawyer will appear in any court,” Mukherjee said.
Leader of the Opposition in the Bengal assembly Partha Chatterjee said, “The police minister must apologise for police action in the court. It is a shameful act.”