SC orders probe into Madras High Court Clash

February 26, 2009 News service

The Supreme Court on Thursday constituted a committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge BN Srikrishna to probe into the lawyer-police clashes that erupted at the Madras High Court premises on February 19, several advocates and a judge were injured in the violence.

Justice Srikrishna, who probed the 1993 Mumbai riots, will be assisted by two CBI officers from the agency’s Chennai office to uncover the sequence of the events that lead to the violence in which properties of the High Court and vehicles of lawyers were also destroyed.

The bench made it clear that five senior police officers whose names have cropped up in connection with the incident will be transferred to facilitate a free and fair inquiry.

The Court was informed that Ramasubramanian, Jt Commissioner of Police, was already transferred and another police officer of his rank Sandeep Rai Rathore and three DCPs — Sarangan, Prem Anand Sinha and Paneer Selvam — will be immediately shifted.

The fate of Chennai Police Commissioner K Radhakrishnan along with that of T Rajendran (Additional DCP) and A K Vishwanathan (Additional CP) will be decided after the submission of the report of the Srikrishna Committee.

The apex court further expressed displeasure over the lawyers conduct during the strike and asked advocates to maintain judicial decorum and discipline.

The bench headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan said: “Lawyers have no business to go to court and attack anyone,” and added that the lawyers bore the responsibility respect the court and maintain decorum.

Comprising of Justices P Sathasivam and JM Panchal, apart from the CJI, the bench  expressed anguish that striking lawyers were continuing to press for the suspension of police officers responsible for the February 19 clash.

“We cannot simply accept everything,” said the bench.

Recalling the one year that he spent at the Madras High Court, CI Balakrishnan said: “Lawyers used to hold meetings in the court and shout slogans on the corridors of the court.”

“There are lawyers who have allegiance to some or other political parties but that in no way means they can hold meetings in the court complex,” he added.

However, Balakrishnan said “I don’t blame all lawyers” and asked the lawyers of the suffering their stance has wrought on litigants who are the worst sufferer of the strikes.

“Lawyers are on strike. Large number of litigants are suffering. This is very sad incident,” he said.

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