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Chennai: Lawyers' body files petition to suspend top cops
March 10, 2009 13:09 IST
A lawyers' body in Chennai has filed a petition in the Madras high court seeking suspension of 15 police personnel, including city Police Commissioner K Radhakrishnan, for the alleged attack on advocates, judges, court staff and litigants on its premises on February 19.
The petition filed by Madras High Court Advocates' Association President R C Paul Kanakaraj on Monday also sought criminal contempt proceedings against Chief Secretary K S Sripathi and Home Secretary S Malathi, Director General of Police K P Jain, additional DGP Intelligence Anup Jaiswal and 18 state government officials in connection with the incident.
It also sought transfer of the DGP. The petition also wanted police to deposit its entire log of internal communication from February 17 to 19 with the court and "withdrawal of shoot-at-sight orders given on February 20".
On February 19 last, police entered the Madras high court premises and resorted to lathi charge on lawyers agitating on the Sri Lanka [Images] issue and caste dimensions of the Chidambaram temple take over.
The police action left many advocates injured and court property damaged. Ever since the incident, the lawyers have been boycotting work demanding action against the police officers responsible for entering the court premises without permission.
In a bid to end the stalemate, the Supreme Court had appointed the Justice B N Srikrishna Commission to look into the issue and fix responsibility for the events of February 19.
In its report to the apex court, the commission slammed the lawyers calling them as "hooligans" and "miscreants". However, it did not spare the police either and said that they had gone "berserk" and resorted to force "beyond what was permissible."
The committee also held the judges of the Madras high court responsible for the present "piquant situation" by following a "soft-pedalling policy" in the context of the protests by lawyers sympathising with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam cause.
The provocation for the violence in the high court premises on February 19 was started by the "unruly mob of lawyers" but "once the police got into action, there was no stopping them" and they went "berserk" and damaged the court properties, Justice Srikrishna, a retired apex court judge, said in his interim report.
The state level Joint Action Committee of Bar Associations has, however, rejected the Justice Srikrishna interim report. In a press release in Chennai, it alleged that the report "is riddled with factual contradictions and inconsistencies".
In its petition, the MHAA has also sought a direction to the state to deposit Rs 2 crore with the court to meet cost of repairs of damages to court buildings and as compensation to those injured, among other things.
Earlier, advocates asked the First Bench comprising newly sworn-in Chief Justice H L Gokhale and Justice F M Ibrahim Kallifulla to initiate suo motu contempt proceedings against the police for its excesses stating that it was a "very serious matter".
Justice Gokhale, however, told them to file an appropriate petition which would be taken up along with the suo motu contempt proceedings being heard by a bench comprising Justices S J Mukhopadhaya, V Dhanapalan and K Chandru, which has been listed for March 11.
The JAC, while rejecting the Justice Srikrishna report said that the commission had offered no reason for not recommending any action against the police. This was regrettable, the JAC said, adding that instead of severely castigating the police for its intrusion into high court premises without the permission of the court, the commission had described that action as merely "irregular".
No provocation could justify police action of entering the court and "running riot", it said. Agitating advocates burnt a copy of Justice Srikrishna Commission's report and posters of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi [Images] and Congress President Sonia Gandhi [Images].