CJ orders notices to Centre, State

CJ orders notices to Centre, State

Unhappy with the advocates’ agitation, Chief Justice Vikramjit Sen on Wednesday ordered notices to the Central and State governments.

Hearing a batch of petitions filed by the advocates against the State, police and media, the Chief Justice said abstaining from court proceedings was not in the interest of the majority of practising advocates, and courts cannot be receptive to such decisions.   
The petitioners were seeking directions to the Press Council to initiate action against media for their “biased” reporting of the clash on March 2.

Ranganath and others, in separate petitions, contended that Friday’s incident had tarnished the legal profession in the electronic and print media and had hurt the sentiments of the advocates and law students.

They sought a direction to the Press Council of India (PCI) to initiate disciplinary action  against TV channels and also to curtail ‘unethical reporting and telecasting’.

Ranganath contended that the indiscriminate caning by the police on advocates at the City Civil Court complex was “an assault on the judiciary and administration of justice”.

He sought a CBI inquiry into the attack by the police personnel and demanded penal action against the principal secretary, DGP and the police commissioner.

Principal City Civil and Sessions Judge Budhihal too was assaulted in the incident, he claimed.

‘Preserve evidences’

The Bench directed additional commissioner of police (Traffic and Security) to assure preservation and production of evidence in their possession, especially with regard to CCTV footages at KR Circle and State Bank of Mysore Circle on Kempe Gowda Road. The court has directed to produce the footages by March 14.

Advocates’ agitation

Members of the Advocates’ Association Bangalore continued boycotting the court proceedings on Wednesday and began fast-unto-death, protesting “police excesses” and “biased” coverage of the incidents by the media.

Former Special Public Prosecutor Dore Raju criticised the language used by the media to describe advocates.

“The media damaged our reputation so much that auto drivers now refuse to entertain us. A driver said ‘no’ to me when I approached him for a ride,” a woman lawyer claimed.

Boycotting opposed

However, some senior advocates did not approve the boycotting of the court proceedings.

Senior counsel Ravi B Naik termed the boycott “a self goal” and said the case should be fought legally.

Govt to set up panel

The State government is planning to constitute a co-ordination committee comprising representatives from the media and advocates, in a bid to prevent any clash between the two groups in future.

Sources said the committee is likely to comprise one member each from the State Bar Council and Advocates’ Association, one representative each from the print and the electronic media along with the principal secretary of the Home department as the government nominee.

The panel is likely to be headed by the Registrar General of the High Court, the sources added. The committee, which is likely to be set up by the chief minister in the coming days, will meet on a regular basis to discuss and resolve any issues between the media representatives and lawyers, the sources said.

Speaking to reporters in the City, Home Minister R Ashoka said a time frame of 10-15 days has been given to Director General of Police (CID) Rupak Kumar Datta for submitting a report after conducting an internal inquiry to find out the cause for the March 2 clash between the media and the advocates, and also to ascertain whether there were police excesses that day.

The in-house inquiry had been ordered so that on submission of the report the government can initiate quick action against the guilty, Ashoka said. The time frame for the judicial probe ordered by the State government (official notification likely to be issued on Thursday) will be three months, the minister pointed out.

Ashoka said, along with Law Minister Suresh Kumar, he met Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen on Wednesday morning. “We briefed him on the series of meetings held by the government on Tuesday evening with representatives of the media and members of legal fraternity,” he said.

The government has also decided to bear the medical expenses of the injured lawyers and police personnel, he added.

The government will also take steps to provide a designated area, preferably outside every court premises, for the electronic media to cover proceedings.

The government is prepared, on receiving orders from the Chief Justice, to shift the Lokayukta Court from the City Civil Court premises to the central jail premises in Parappana Agrahara with immediate effect, he said.

The government has sought six months’ time to shift the CBI court from the City Civil Court premises, he said.