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Hours after blast, Delhi high court resumes sittings

September 07, 2011 15:49 IST
The Delhi high court, along with several benches of the Supreme Court, suspended proceedings on Wednesday after a powerful blast rocked its premises, but resumed its functioning within hours to send a strong message that it "will not be cowed down by such terror acts".

The explosion, which occurred three months after another low-intensity explosion a few hundred yards away from the present blast site, left the legal fraternity shocked and aghast as many lawyers were among the victims.

While some of the advocates urged Chief Justice S H Kapadia to temporarily adjourn the proceedings following the the blast at around 10.15 am, former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium urged a bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma to adjourn the day's proceedings.

Expressing "deep shock and anguish", Justice Bhandari, while adjourning the hearing, asked the advocates to render all possible assistance to the injured.

Proceedings before a bench of justices G S Singhvi and H L Dattu were also temporarily adjourned after senior counsel Ram Jethmalani, while arguing in a 2G case, mentioned the blast before the court.

The high court, however, resumed the proceedings in the post-lunch session.

All the courts were working. In case of failure of any litigant or lawyer to appear in the case, the courts abstained from passing any adverse order against them.

A member of the Delhi Bar Council said the court has resumed proceedings "to send a strong message that it will not come under pressure or be cowed down by such acts of terror".

Meanwhile, all the high court judges and Chief Justice Dipak Misra visited the blast spot. Home Minister P Chidambaram too reached the site and is believed to have held a brief meeting with the Chief Justice about security concerns of the court.

"We want to send a message that we will not be bogged down by such incidents. We had a brief chat with the home minister and he stressed on the need for beefing up security," Delhi Bar Council President Rakesh Tiku said.

He said there were an additional 20 per cent of people today as it was a PIL day.

 Tiku hit out at Delhi police for "failing to ensure" that no repeat of the May 25 blast occurred.

Recalling the low-intensity blast which had rocked the high court premises earlier, Tikku said that the lawyers had requested police authorities to install closed circuit television cameras in and around the high court premises to keep a tab on suspicious elements.

"But nothing of that sort has been done," Tikku alleged.

Senior counsel S Ganesh, who was present in the high court at the time of the blast, told the bench of Justice Bhandari that he was standing barely 150 yards away from the blast site when he heard a deafening sound.

"Everything was over in a few minutes. It was the loudest sound I have ever heard and minutes later I saw bodies strewn around and people running helter-skelter," he told the bench.

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