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Lawyers boycott courts to protest against Dinakaran
BANGALORE, NOV 9 (IANS):
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Published on 9 Nov. 2009 11:01 PM IST
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About 60,000 lawyers abstained from courts across Karnataka Monday in protest against the continuation of controversial Karnataka High Court chief justice P.D. Dinakaran for alleged land-grabbing and amassing assets disproportionate to his income. “The boycott of proceedings from lower courts to high court has been total and successful. Though courts were functioning, about 60,000 advocates stayed away from all proceedings,” Advocates Association of Bangalore (AAB) general secretary R. Rajanna told IANS. When hundreds of lawyers laid siege to Dinakaran’s court, raising slogans against him, a miffed chief justice walked out in a huff amidst jostling and ugly scuffle in which a senior journalist and cameraman of an English TV news channel were assaulted by a section of advocates. When the lawyers refused to relent, Dinakaran called the association’s representatives into the courtroom and told them that he should be allowed to discharge his constitutional duties. “What sin have I committed? Why are you protesting against me? Allow me to do my duty. The court cannot tolerate such acts,” Dinakaran said. Rejecting Dinakaran’s plea, the lawyers continued to shout “Resign chief justice” and “Down, down Dinakaran” inside and outside the courtroom and prevented the proceedings. According to the high court’s registrar, the lawyers also prevented Justices Gopala Gowda and Nagarathna from hearing cases. Later, the agitating lawyers prevented Gowda and Nagarathna from leaving their courts and locked them up in their chambers. The lawyers went ahead with the day-long boycott despite an interim stay by the high court Saturday against the resolution adopted by AAB Nov 4 to abstain from court proceedings in protest against Dinakaran’s continuation as chief justice. “The writ petition filed by a citizen (M.P. Gundappa) was not maintainable, as the resolution was passed by the association, which is registered under the Karnataka Society Act. The petition does not fall under the writ jurisdiction,” Rajanna said. Association president K.N. Putte Gowda told reporters Gundappa filed the petition at the behest of some advocates sympathetic to Dinakaran Friday and a special division bench headed by Justices Manjula Chellur and B.V. Nagarathna was constituted by the court late Friday. “The court’s registrar informed the association Saturday morning about the hearing in the case and an interim stay was granted without taking into consideration our arguments that the petition was not maintainable under the Society Act,” Rajanna said out. Citing an earlier observation of the Supreme Court, Rajanna said as members of a registered association, they had a right to protest and abstain from work. “Though Dinakaran’s elevation to the Supreme Court has been put on hold, we wanted the apex court collegium to give its verdict on the charges submitted by advocates of Tamil Nadu High Court. Since it is not done even 40 days since we first called for Dinakaran’s resignation, the association has decided to boycott his court,” Rajanna noted. A section of lawyers, who are not members of the AAB, disagreed with the boycott call. “There is no legal provision for lawyers to adopt such a resolution for abstaining from courts in protest against a judge or functioning chief justice even if allegations are levelled against him,” D.V. Rajesh, a high court advocate, told IANS.

 
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