A group of lawyers on Friday vandalised the court of Calcutta High Court Chief Justice Mohit S Shah to protest their forcible eviction by the police from a room in the court premises following a dispute over its allotment.
The incident made an unpleasant last day for Justice Shah as the chief justice of the Calcutta HC before his shift to the Bombay high court.
"Some lawyers came in and vandalised the court room, breaking glass panes of the door and throwing around furniture," court officials said.
A dispute over the allotment of a court room to assistant court officers by the chief justice led to a confrontation with the bar association.
Nearly 60 to 70 lawyers occupied the room on Thursday evening and refused to vacate despite several requests, sources said. The police was called in and the lawyers were forced out of the room around midnight.
The lawyers, however, denied they had resorted to violence inside the court. Senior counsel Subroto Mukhopadhyay said, "It was just a glass pane that had come off the hinges. It was not due to any application of force by anyone."
Protesting against the police action, the West Bengal Bar Council called a day-long ceasework in all courts in the state today. The Calcutta High Court Bar Association members held meetings and rallies in and around the court premises condemning the police action.
Shah served as the chief Justice of the Calcutta high court for just six months, having been elevated from the Gujarat high court on December 24, 2009. However, his transfer from the Calcutta HC has nothing to do with today's incidents, high court sources said.
"The warrant of transfer has arrived and the chief justice will leave for Mumbai on Saturday," the official said.
The transfer was decided on during the tenure of former Chief Justice of India Justice K G Balakrishnan and the warrant arrived on Friday, sources said.
The judges hurriedly organised a farewell for the chief justice in the evening even as a large section of advocates demonstrated before the main gate of the high court demanding the transfer of Justice Shah.