Lawyers to Boycott Work for the Fourth Consecutive Day on 7 Nov

The rival protests by both Delhi Police personnel and Delhi’s lawyers were sparked by two separate violent clashes.

5 min read
Lawyers protest at Saket District court in South Delhi.

Lawyers of district courts in Delhi have decided to abstain from work for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday, 7 November, as their demand for the arrest of policemen involved in a clash at Tis Hazari court has not been met, members of bar associations said on Wednesday, PTI reported.

Lawyers in the district courts have been absenting from work since 4 November, protesting against the clash between them and Delhi Police personnel at Tis Hazari court on 2 November.

"Boycott will continue till justice is met. We want the culprits to be arrested. Litigants will have access to court. They will be welcomed tomorrow too. We have decided to make arrangements for tea and and water for them," said Jaiveer Singh Chauhan, the secretary of Delhi Bar Association at Tis Hazari court, PTI reported

He said that as no police personnel were present inside the Tis Hazari court premises, members of the bar were looking after the security there.

‘Don’t Share Images, Videos’: District Judge

The district judge of Tis Hazari Court, who is the administrative head of all trial courts in Delhi, on Wednesday, "strictly" directed officials not to share any video clip, photograph or text pertaining to the recent clashes between lawyers and police with anyone or on social media, PTI reported.

District Judge Girish Kathpalia issued a circular with directions to the staff to desist from making "unnecessary comments" and "gossip" on the issue before anyone.

"Officials posted in all district courts across Delhi are strictly directed not to forward any video clip or even photographs or text pertaining to the recent unfortunate events of clashes between lawyers and police officials, to anyone, and especially on social media,” the circular read.

It, however, said that if anyone gets any important and verifiable information, it be shared with the district judge concerned.


‘No Need to Clarify’: Delhi HC on 3 Nov Order

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday, had said that there is no need to clarify its 3 November order in the lawyers-police clash at Tis Hazari Courts Complex as it is self explanatory, PTI reported.

A Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar disposed of the Centre's applications seeking clarification and review of the order which said no coercive action be taken against advocates should not be applicable on the subsequent incidents.

The High Court also remarked that the judicial inquiry panel, which was set up to look into the Tis Hazari clash, will continue to function without any influence of the observation made by this court, ANI reported.

Hearing the Ministry of Home Affairs’ application seeking clarification on Delhi High Court's order regarding the Tis Hazari Court incident that took place on Saturday, 2 November, the Delhi High Court also dismissed application of Delhi Police seeking permission to lodge FIR against lawyers in Saket District Court incident.

The high court had earlier directed that no coercive action would be taken against any lawyer on the basis of FIRs lodged with regard to the 2 November incident.


Lawyers Boycott Judicial Work

The Delhi district court lawyers across Delhi on Wednesday, continued to boycott judicial work and protested the clashes between lawyers and policemen, according to news agency ANI.

“Our fight is against only those policemen who fired at us and lathicharged us that day. We will protest till they are arrested,” a lawyer at Rohini Court said.

The protests by both cops and lawyers were triggered by two separate clashes – one on Monday, 4 November, outside Saket District Court in which there is footage of lawyers attacking a policeman as he flees on his bike; and another on Saturday, 2 November, at the Tis Hazari Courts Complex after a parking dispute between a lawyer and a on-duty policeman, which led to at least 20 security personnel and several advocates being injured.


BCI Rolls Back Ban on Protests

Meanwhile, Bar Council of India Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra told ANI that the apex body of lawyers rolled back the decision to ban lawyer protests on Wednesday, alleging that policemen protesting at ITO the previous day had used derogatory language for members of the legal community.

“After the High Court’s order, BCI appealed to all members to return to work. However, some stray instances were witnessed at Saket court. We held a meeting and sent a notice through bar associations to all lawyers that we will take action against them. But what happened at ITO [police protest] on Tuesday was completely undemocratic and is unacceptable. [Police] protesters there used abusive language for lawyers and the BCI was feeling threatened.”
Manan Kumar Mishra, Chairman, BCI

He, however, added that BCI would not tolerate any violence by protesting lawyers. “Have asked Bar Council to identify all lawyers involved in the mob that harassed policemen.”

Speaking on violence faced by journalists at the hands of protesting lawyers, Mishra said “If any misbehaved with media, we will deal with them strictly. I have asked for names of lawyers who misbehaved with media.”


‘How Will I Settle My Case?’: Common People Lament

While lawyers locked the gates of the Saket district court, it was ordinary citizens who bore the brunt of the protest. One of the litigants gathered at Saket court said:

“We got a date for hearing yesterday, after that they asked us to come today. This was for a traffic challan. Today, they are saying we will have to wait for 10 more days for this protest to get over. How will I pay my challan and settle this case?”

Lawyer Attempts Self-Immolation, Another Man Tries to Jump Off Building

A lawyer, identified as Ashish, also appeared to attempt self-immolation outside the Rohini Court, according to CNN-News18. The lawyer allegedly poured kerosene on himself before his colleagues stopped him.

Television visuals showed another man standing atop a high-rise Rohini court building in an apparent bid to kill himself.

Meanwhile, security has been beefed up at the police headquarters in Delhi and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been deployed, according to ANI.

The demonstration comes a day after thousands of Delhi police personnel laid siege outside the Police Headquarters for 11 hours and staged a virtual revolt over the two clashes. The protesting cops eventually called off the stir after numerous appeals, including from their chief.

The protests in which families of the personnel also took to streets were halted overnight after an assurance by senior officers that their grievances will be addressed.

NCP Chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday hit out at the Centre over the "mistreatment" of police personnel and called for an intervention by the Bar Council, according to CNN-News18.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI and CNN-News18.)

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