Scores of advocates arrested for attempting to lay siege Madras HC premises

25 July, Chennai

Unfazed by the Bar Council of India (BCI) in New Delhisuspending 126 lawyers, including 21 Bar leaders, for their unruly behaviourlast night over the amendments made to Advocates Act, 1961, scores of advocates from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry were arrested here Monday as they attempted to lay siege to the Madras High Court premises.

Those suspended included key members of the Joint Action Committee which was spearheading the protest against the amendments to the Advocate Act, terming them as ‘draconian’.

Sticking to their decision of the siege stir, members of various advocates associations, including the Madras High Court Advocates Association, who have been indefinitely boycotting the court proceedings for over a month, today took out a protest rally denouncing the amendments made to the Sec 34(1) of the Advocates Act and demanded its withdrawal.
Tension prevailed in and around the High court premises, which became asecurity fortress, with the deployment of a large posse of police personnelin all the seven entry points.

Though the High Court campus was already under the CISF cover, heavy police pickets were posted in all the entry points in view of the agitation by the lawyers.

Shouting slogans against the Chief Justice S K Kaul, lawyers broke throughpolice barricades, climbed them and attempted to enter the court premises, but they were prevented by the police, leading to tension.

The advocates also burnt the banners of BCI to condemn the suspension of126 errant lawyers and copies of the amendments.

There was jostling between the police and the advocates and several shops in the vicinity of the High Court were closed following the agitation.

Traffic movement on the arterial stretch was hit and vehicles were seenpiling up on the roads.

As tension mounted and the situation threatened to go out of control, police arrested the agitating lawyers, who were demanding unconditional total withdrawal of the recent amendments.

Meanwhile, Kaul said the adamant attitude of the advocates was the reason behind the continuing agitation and said as Chief Justice he could not do anything on the issue.

The striking lawyers should have approached the guidelines committee to get their grievances redressed. ”Instead they were adamant in their attitude,which is the main reason for the continuance of the agitation”, JusticeKaul said.

He said only the Guidelines committee should decide on withdrawing theamendments.

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