Thiruvananthapuram Police have booked 12 lawyers who allegedly threatened and blocked a woman magistrate at a court here recently for cancelling the bail of an accused. The development comes even as the state Judicial Officers Association approached the Kerala High court seeking its immediate intervention and ensure a free and fearless atmosphere for their functioning.
A case has been registered against 12 lawyers, including the president and secretary of the Trivandrum Bar Association on various charges including assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging duty, on a complaint from the magistrate, a police official said on Friday.
The action against the lawyers ensued after the Judicial First Class Magistrate Deepa Mohan filed a written complaint with the Chief Judicial Magistrate on the "unruly" behaviour of some lawyers and it was forwarded to the police.
The Thiruvananthapuram Bar Association has, however, dismissed the allegations, saying the members had gone to meet the magistrate to hold talks following a member's complaint and they had not locked the room or threatened her as was being alleged.
Meanwhile, the Judicial Officers' Association has filed a complaint before the Registrar General of the Kerala High court on the incident. It said the magistrate was "humiliated" by some members of the Thiruvananthapuram Bar Association, amounting to wrongful confinement, criminal intimidation and obstruction to discharge official duty.
In a representation sent to the Registrar General on Thursday, association president K Byju Nath, district Judge, MACT, Kalpetta, vice president VPM Suresh Baby, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Thrissur and Secretary, M Vinitha, JFCM, Ernakulam, sought the high court's immediate intervention to "ensure an atmosphere to the judicial officers to function in a free, fearless and independent manner."
"We express our protest and anguish against wrongdoers and expect appropriate action from the Honourable High court of Kerala to safeguard the independence of the members of the Subordinate Judiciary.
The subordinate judiciary in Kerala is known to be the best in the country so far as the integrity and efficiency of the judicial officers are concerned....," the representation said.
The incident tends to "lower the morale and reputation" of the members of subordinate judiciary and the "unprecedented and violent activities" adopted by the bar adversely affects all the stakeholders, it said.
Functioning of around 50 courts in Thiruvananthapuram district was affected following the boycott.