Calcutta Chief Justice irate over lawyers' poor work ethic

Calcutta Chief Justice irate over lawyers' poor work ethic

Miffed by the refusal of lawyers to continue work in intense summer heat, Calcutta High Court Chief Justice Manjula Chellur flew to her hometown of Bengaluru.

A section of the lawyers practicing at the high court refused to work despite stern words from the CJ.

The lawyers, part of the Calcutta High Court Bar Association and has affiliations with the ruling Trinamool Congress, stayed away from work on Wednesday as part of a three-day cease work due to extreme temperatures and humidity which would sure to inconvenience thousands of litigants.

The irate Chief Justice called their absence “irritating and painful” and took an afternoon flight to Bengaluru. She is expected to join work on June 15.
Though lawyers affiliated to Trinamool legal cell were present, a large number of them stayed away on Wednesday.

Courtrooms were open and judges were present, but no case could be taken up for hearing.

Lawyers opting for the three-day cease work starting Wednesday said the heat and humidity made it difficult to work, refusing to change their decision despite the Chief Justice pointing out that all the courtrooms at the 150-year-old high court were air-conditioned.

Justice Joymalyo Bagchi, part of the Chief Justice’s division bench, asked why the lawyers in the higher court could not work when policemen, nurses and their fellow advocates could work in non-air-conditioned lower courts.

The lawyers submitted a memorandum to Justice Chellur asking for extension of the summer vacation due to the intense heat, prompting the judge to liken their attitude to school children.

“This is childish. Lawyers are behaving like schoolchildren. It’s like school students pleading with their madam to grant them leave because of the heat outside. This is quite unfortunate,” she observed.

Rana Mukherjee, secretary of the Bar Association, who defended the lawyers’ decision before a Bengali news channel on Tuesday, was not available for comments.
The lawyers’ demand comes after the state government extended summer vacation to schools by a week.

The Chief Justice had a similar showdown with the lawyers when they asked for a two-day leave extension during Holi.

“Clients are like your Gods. They provide you your livelihood. What will you gain by making the litigants unhappy? It is the duty of the Bar to let the Bench function,” she had said.

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