HC slaps notice on advocates

Unruly protest, manhandling Chief Justice, locking up judges invite contempt

 
The Karntaka High Court’s action follows Monday’s unruly behaviour on the part of the lawyers who manhandled beleagured Chief Justice P D Dinakaran and locked up two other judges in a courtroom to express their ire against the continued functioning of the chief justice who is faced with charges of malfeasance.

Justices K Sreedhar Rao and Ravi Malimath issued show-cause notices to AAB President K N Puttegowda, Secretary Rajanna and Treasurer G T Ravi, on why contempt action should not be taken against them under Indian Penal Code.

Puttegowda later said that they will respond to the notice. They are ready to face a contempt case if it is slapped on them, he added.

The AAB had, in a letter dated November 4, informed the judges of its intention to boycott court proceedings on November 9. It had also requested the judges not to harm the interests of the litigants by either disposing or dismissing the matters.

Minister meets

State Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Kumar met with AAB, Bar Council and media representatives in the morning and Justices V Gopala Gowda, M K Patil and H N Nagamohan Das in the evening. Kumar said his 80-minute meeting with the judges revolved around preserving the bar-bench relationship.

Describing Monday’s incidents as “unfortunate,” Kumar said it was a blot on the State’s legal history. He is expected to conduct a second round of talks with the chief justice and other judges on Saturday.

Advocate General Ashok Haranahalli said that the “locking-up” incident should not have happened. But the best thing would be to forget and look ahead. Stating that contempt proceedings against the advocates were not the answer, he said the Bar Council should sit across the table with judges and sort out the issue.

Police presence

Heavy police presence marked the day at High Court, though proceedings went on normally in all the courtrooms.

Nearly 500 policemen were deployed on the High Court premises, with one inspector along with 12 constables for every three court halls. Services of City Armed Reserve and Karnataka State Reserve Police were also enlisted for the purpose.

In another development, AAB representatives tendered an apology for the attack on a cameraman on the High court premises.

The apology was tendered at a meeting held at Kumar’s chambers. Representatives of the AAB and Bangalore Reporters’ Guild were invited to the meeting.

The AAB also offered to bear the cameraperson’s medical expenses and reimburse the cost of damage to his equipment.  Kumar urged that protests, if any, by lawyers in the future should always be peaceful. Other issues discussed at the meeting included issuing identity cards for journalists covering High Court proceedings.

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