Judicial paralysis in Tamil Nadu

Chennai, July30 (tamilnaducentral): For the past two months, lawyers have been boycotting courts across Tamil Nadu that has led to a judicial paralysis. Only Government pleaders are attending courts.

Right from the Madras High Court to district courts, the cases are piling up. The boycott of courts is over the formation of set of conduct rules that lawyers have to obey. If they flout it then they can be suspended or licence revoked by the Judge. Agitating against this, 125 lawyers’ licenses were suspended. In last week siege of Madras High Court, five lawyers were arrested and jailed. The joint committee of the bar associations has drawn up a plan to intensify the agitation.

Senior lawyers and some leaders of bar association have stayed away  from the agitation. The scene is that there is no proper leadership and there are many voices that are leading the agitation, says a senior lawyer.

Agitating lawyers say that giving powers to district  judges is a cause of concern to lawyers in these courts. Most of the terms used in the new rules are vague and it can be misused to silence the lawyer. Earlier, if the district judge has to take action on an errant lawyer, he has to send a complaint to the Bar Council and CJ. Bar Council by and large ignores such complaints. Till now, the district  judges had to put up with the unruly behaviour of the lawyers.

Those who feel that the agitation is unnecessary say that there are already many rules to pull up lawyers for contempt of court.  A judge can stop a lawyer from appearing before him under the earlier law, points out a lawyer. This has been put as the new set of rules. The code of conduct and disciplinary action were framed by the apex court.

Tamil Nadu lawyers made a beeline to Delhi and presented their plea to scrap the new rules but it did not happen.  Yet another reason given is that a five member judge  panel is going through the rules framed by SC and till then the CJ had said it will be kept in abeyance. Given this assurance, the lawyers continuing the boycott makes no sense, says a senior lawyer. Even those who wanted to enter the courts  are stopped from doing so.

Agitators  have collected signatures from 800 lawyers across Tamil Nadu. These lawyers are ready to face suspension. Bar Council which is doing a check on the enrolled advocates has found that 1000 members are yet to come up with degree certificates.

If Tamil Nadu is facing a standoff between the judges and  lawyers, Kerala courts are seeing a battle  between the lawyers and the media. Lawyers are not allowing the media to enter the courts. Lawyers and media clashed in Ernakulam over a report of a government pleader being linked to a woman. This has now spread to  other courts.

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