Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Protesting lawyers assault scribes in Karnataka High Court

Collected from News Sources

Bangalore, Nov 9 (IANS) A senior television journalist and a cameraman of a leading English news channel were beaten up Monday in the Karnataka High Court by a group of lawyers protesting the continuation of controversial Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran, who faces allegations of land-grabbing and amassing disproportionate assets.
The incident occurred in Dinakaran’s courtroom amid chaos when cameraman Venkatesh was talking on his mobile as the lawyers had laid a siege to prevent the proceedings.

As cameras are not allowed inside courtrooms, some lawyers thought Venkatesh was capturing the scuffle that broke out between the advocates on his mobile and started beating him. In the melee, his shirt was torn and he was injured, suffering bruises on his neck and back.

When the journalist, who declined to be named, rushed to Venkatesh’s rescue, he too was assaulted by a group of advocates.

After a miffed Dinakaran left the courtroom in a huff, expressing displeasure over the lawyers’ boycott call, a section of advocates turned their ire on media personnel covering the event.

Condemning the assault, about 60 media persons, including photo-journalists, television cameramen and reporters staged a demonstration outside the high court and called for action against the advocates who beat up Venkatesh and the journalist.

As the high drama and the ugly scenes in the high court premises were relayed on local channels, state Law and Parliamentary Affairs minister S.Suresh Kumar rushed to the spot to inquire into the incident and pacify the media.

Regretting the incident, the minister told reporters the assault on scribes was unfortunate and should not have happened.

“It is not befitting for a noble profession. I will look into the matter and direct the police to nab the culprits,” Kumar said.

A complaint was also filed in the police station against the unidentified advocates who assaulted the duo.

The Advocates Association of Bangalore (AAB), which gave the boycott call, apologised to the media for the unfortunate incident.

“Those lawyers who assaulted Venkatesh and the journalist are not members of our association. In fact, we were protesting against their presence in the courtroom as none of their cases were listed or were being heard by Dinakaran. We have learnt later that about 30-40 advocates, sympathetic to Dinakaran, had assembled in the courtroom to create trouble,” AAB general secretary R. Rajanna told IANS.

In the ensuing chaos, Justices Gopla Gowda and B.V. Nagarathna were also manhandled by a section of the lawyers.

Read more: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/uncategorized/protesting-lawyers-assault-scribes-in-karnataka-high-court_100272360.html#ixzz0WR5DXuMJ

Miffed Dinakaran leaves court amidst lawyers' melee

2009-11-09 23:31:00

A miffed Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran Monday walked out of the court amid chaos when lawyers protesting against his continuation in office laid a siege to his courtroom and refused to withdraw their boycott call.

The controversial top judge, who is facing allegations of land-grabbing and amassing disproportionate assets, tried to dissuade the lawyers from disturbing the proceedings, as the high court stayed Saturday the boycott call given by the Advocates Association of Bangalore (AAB) Nov 4.

When the lawyers refused to relent, Dinakaran stopped hearing a case and called the association's representatives to tell 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 advocates continued to shout 'Resign chief justice' and 'Down, down Dinakaran' inside and outside the courtroom and prevented the proceedings.

After Dinakaran left for his chamber in a huff, the agitated lawyers rushed to the adjacent courtrooms of Justices Gopala Gowda and B.V. Nagarathna to stall their proceedings.

The advocates also prevented the judges from leaving the courtrooms and locked up their chambers subsequently.

In the melee, Gowda got hurt when he tried to dissuade the advocates. About 60,000 lawyers abstained from courts across the state in protest against the continuation of Dinakaran in office. '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. Though Dinakaran's elevation to the Supreme Court has been put on hold, the lawyers wanted the apex court collegium to give its verdict on the charges submitted by advocates of Tamil Nadu High Court. 'Since the collegium has not completed the probe even 40 days after we first gave a call 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 functioning judge or chief justice even if allegations are levelled against him,' D.V. Rajesh, a high court advocate, said. A senior television journalist and a cameraman of a leading English news channel were beaten up by a group of lawyers in the high court premises during the lawyers' agitation against Dinakaran.

The incident occurred in Dinakaran's courtroom amid chaos when cameraman Venkatesh was talking on his mobile. As cameras are not allowed inside courtrooms, some lawyers thought Venkatesh was capturing the scuffle that broke out between the advocates on his mobile and started beating him. In the melee, his shirt was torn and he sustained bruises on his neck and back. When the senior journalist, who declined to be named, rushed to Venkatesh's rescue, he too was assaulted by a group of advocates. After Dinakaran left the courtroom, expressing displeasure over the lawyers' boycott call, a section of advocates turned their ire on media personnel covering the event. Condemning the assault, about 60 media persons, including photo-journalists, television cameramen and reporters, staged a demonstration outside the high court and called for action against the advocates who beat up Venkatesh and the journalist.

Lawyers assemble before the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore on Monday to protest against Justice P.D. Dinakaran.

BANGALORE: In an unprecedented incident, agitating advocates on Monday disrupted the proceedings in the court hall of the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, P.D. Dinakaran. They also raised slogans against him and forced him to adjourn the court for some time.Around 200 advocates also gheraoed Justices V. Gopala Gowda and B.V. Nagaratna when the latter did not heed their demand not to conduct the proceedings.The lawyers locked the doors of the hall where the judges were sitting and cut off power supply. The two judges were able to leave Court Hall No. 2 only after Mr. Justice Dinakaran and several other judges came and escorted them through the jostling crowd.The advocates had turned up in force to ensure that the boycott of all court proceedings in the State, called by the Advocates Association of Bangalore (AAB), was heeded.Tension began building up in the High Court around 11 a.m. when the lawyers found that the proceedings were going on. They began raising slogans against Mr. Justice Dinakaran and asked their colleagues to abstain from the court.The advocates then barged into the court hall and raised slogans against the Chief Justice. They abused the lawyers present in the court, assaulted some, and physically removed them from the court.Mr. Justice Dinakaran urged the agitators to let him speak. He said he had no occasion to speak of the “pain and suffering” he had undergone in recent days. “I have given my explanation. My silence should not be construed as admission of guilt. As a judge, I have to function and discharge my constitutional obligation and that is what I am doing.”With the lawyers refusing to permit him to continue, the Chief Justice left the court hall only to return in the afternoon.Two journalists were also assaulted by the advocates.

Karnataka lawyers boycott Dinakaran, go on rampage

BANGALORE: All hell broke loose in Karnataka High Court on Monday morning with rowdy elements and angry lawyers creating a ruckus and virtually forcing Chief Justice P D Dinakaran, facing land-grab charges in a village in Tamil Nadu, to suspend proceedings. Worse, members of the Advocates' Association of Bangalore (AAB) kicked up a huge row and locked up two judges when they found they were conducting hearings in a court hall unmindful of their call to stop work.

The AAB, which had decided to abstain from court proceedings, wanted to halt business and prevent fellow lawyers from appearing in court.

Chief Justice Dinakaran began the day hearing cases amid tight security at the Chief Justice court hall 1. He began proceedings at 10.30am but around 11.25am, nearly 200 lawyers swarmed into the hall, led by AAB president K N Puttegowda.

The lawyers began shouting slogans against the CJ and asked him not to preside, in the wake of the Supreme Court Collegium `delinking' his name from the panel of judges short-listed for elevation to the apex court.

Justice Dinakaran was initially unmindful of the protest and moved on with the hearing, but the lawyers stepped up their protest. One mediaperson was roughed up in the melee, as lawyers objected to his shooting the proceedings.

Dinakaran appealed to the lawyers to maintain silence, but they paid no heed. To maintain peace, he addressed the gathering: ``I have the highest regard for all of you. I had no opportunity to interact with you all. Earlier, I did not have an opportunity to explain the suffering and pain I went through. Now, I am breaking my silence. Tell me, what sin have I committed? Where can I go? I am also one amongst you. I have my own constitutional commitments, allow me to discharge them. I have given my explanation and they (collegium) are seized of the matter.''

Later, with the lawyers unrelenting, the Chief Justice suspended the proceedings and left the court hall. After forcing his exit, the lawyers turned their ire on two judges in court hall 2 - Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B V Nagarathna. The unruly group entered the court hall around 12.15 pm and began demanding that the judges wind up proceedings, but they did not budge.

This enraged the advocates, who shouted high-pitched slogans, and even tried tricks like singing the National Anthem to make the judges rise from the chairs, but they stood their ground.

Some persons tried to ransack the bookshelf and even threw a book towards the judges. Having failed to make the judges leave, the lawyers closed the four doors of the court hall, locking up the two judges, court officers and clerks inside.

The police watched helplessly as the lawyers cut off power supply to the court room. A pensive hour-and-half passed before CJ Dinakaran himself arrived at the court hall amidst deafening jeers, and led the judges out of the court hall around 2 pm.

As the judges were led away, the lawyers almost roughed them up, but the policemen managed to help the judges to a safe exit.

At 3.30 pm, the Chief Justice restarted the hearing with heavy police security around the court premises, and this time, things went off smoothly. The Bench wound up for the day.

City police commissioner Shankar Bidari and additional commissioner of police (law and order) M R Pujar visited the Chief Justice at his chamber.

Later in the afternoon, when mediapersons went to meet the Chief Justice, he refused to speak on any issue, and stated that there was no confrontation between the Bar and Bench. He also said: ``Administration of justice has been rendered without hurting the rights of lawyers or litigants.''

City court complex

The scene was no different at the city civil court complex on Monday morning, with lawyers boycotting the court proceedings. They assembled in front of the front door at the complex and raised slogans against the CJ.

The protest went on for nearly two hours and around 12.30 pm, policemen who had entered the premises were shooed away by the lawyers. Later, they marched towards the High Court from the civil court complex, sloganeering all along the way.

In contempt?

Justice Gopala Gowda and Justice Nagarathna, who resumed their duties at court hall 2, vented their dismay at the turn of events. Senior counsel Ravivarma Kumar said: ``The Bar Association has been hijacked by rowdy elements. The lawyers have thrown the respect of the judiciary to the winds, with this kind of incident happening for the first time in its history.''

Senior counsels urged Justice Gopala Gowda and Justice Nagarathna to take up a `suo motu' case of contempt against the lawyers. Justice Gopala Gowda, who was visibly upset, said: ``They (lawyers) tried to hurl chairs towards us and used abusive language. We will not be cowed down by these people and will discharge our duties as per the Constitution.''

CJ, judges seek police protection

After the day's fiasco, the CJ held a meeting late in the evening with seven other judges. Said Registrar-General Justice R Budhihal said: ``When the CJ was conducting court proceedings, nearly 150 lawyers barged in from the back door, creating a ruckus. In the melee, the CJ was manhandled and he also suffered a minor cut between his fingers. Later, he was given medication. Now we have given a detailed report about the day's events and what exactly happened. We are seeking extra protection from the police.''

Lawyers protest outside Dinakaran's courtroomBy Indo Asian News Service | 09 November 2009 | 1:35pm

Bangalore, Nov 9 (IANS) Hundreds of lawyers Monday laid siege outside Karnataka High Court chief justice P.D. Dinakaran's courtroom, protesting his continuation despite serious allegations of land grabbing and holding of disproportionate assets against him.

Bangalore, Nov 9 (IANS) Hundreds of lawyers Monday laid siege outside Karnataka High Court chief justice P.D. Dinakaran's courtroom, protesting his continuation despite serious allegations of land grabbing and holding of disproportionate assets against him.


Senior lawyers term HC incident 'unfortunate'

Bangalore, Nov 9 (PTI) Expressing regret over the unruly scenes witnessed in Karnataka High Court today, some senior lawyers termed it as an "unfortunate" incident.

"It is unfortunate that this kind of violent protest has taken place. If there were any issues they could have resolved it without resorting to violence or physical attack", Advocate General Ashok Haranahalli said.

"It is an unfortunate incident that has happened today. The Advocate Association has not authorised its President to violate high court orders. The President conducted himself in the most irresponsible and unbecoming manner", charged senior lawyer Prof Ravivarma Kumar.

"Judges being locked up to prevent discharge of their constitutional duties has never happened", he said demanding that association President Putte Gowda take the blame entirely or quit the post.


More trouble in store for Dinakaran

The controversial Karnataka High Court Chief Justice, P.D. Dinakaran, whose promotion to the Supreme Court has been put on hold following allegations of corruption, is headed for double trouble on Monday.

A leading Bangalore-based lawyers body has decided to abstain from work in the Karnataka High Court and district courts on November 9, to press for an early decision on Justice Dinakaran’s promotion.

The same day, a group of farmers in Tiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu, who had filed a police complaint against Justice Dinakaran on October 28 for alleged land grabbing, have threatened to forcibly enter the disputed land and distribute it among the landless poor.

The Advocates Association of Bangalore, in a letter to the Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, has said the delay in deciding whether Justice Dinakaran would be promoted has “eroded the confidence of the public in the high court.”

The association, in three resolutions passed so far in its meetings, has asked Justice Dinakaran not to attend the court till his name was cleared.

“We do not want a tainted judge…” association president, K.N. Puttegowda said.

All India Kisan Sabha, a frontal wing of the CPI(M), has said it would lead a demonstration in Dinakaran’s village in Tiruvallur on Monday. “…the protesters would forcibly enter the land allegedly encroached by Dinakaran and distribute it among the poor,” peasant leader Tulsi Narayanan said.

Did proxy counsel argue Dinakaran case?

BANGALORE: While the special bench of the High Court was hearing the petition against lawyers abstaining from court proceedings in protest against Chief Justice P D Dinakaran sitting in judgment, advocate Laxminarayana appeared for the president of Karnataka Advocates Society.

He argued that the association has no power to pass such a resolution.

While the court was dictating the order, Ramesh Babu, president of the association told the court that he had not entrusted Laxminarayana to argue on his behalf, but had engaged Ashwathanaraya as his advocate.

The court wondered at the statement.

There was high drama after the court passed the interim order. Advocates geraohed Babu and took him to task for opposing the resolution by filing an interlocutory application in the High Court. Later, Babu apologised for his act.

CJI seeks report from Survey of India

J. Venkatesan

As Dinakaran denies Collector’s version


Land in question to be surveyed

CJI calls for Tamil Nadu’s views on Collector’s report


New Delhi: In a new twist to the controversy over allegations against Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran, Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan has sought the Survey of India’s assistance to ascertain whether the judge encroached upon a large extent of government land as stated by the Tiruvallur (Tamil Nadu) Collector.

The decision to seek a report from the scientific mapping organisation under the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology is a sequel to Justice Dinakaran meeting the CJI during the recent all-India Chief Justices conference and stoutly denying the Collector’s version.

According to highly placed sources, the Collector, in his report, said Justice Dinakaran put up a barbed wire fence around patta land and government land. Justice Dinakaran, in his reply, was understood to have denied this charge. One of the lawyers’ associations in the Madras High Court also sent a memorandum denying the allegations of land encroachment.

In the light of Justice Dinakaran’s denial, the Surveyor-General’s office has been requested to conduct a survey of the area in question and submit a report. It will take into consideration the Collector’s report and the reply by Justice Dinakaran and his family members.

The CJI has also sought the views of the Tamil Nadu government on the Collector’s report and enquiries reveal that it is yet to send its response.

The Supreme Court collegium of judges headed by the CJI has decided to put on hold the elevation of Justice Dinakaran to the Supreme Court and the next course of action will be taken after reports from the Surveyor-General and the Tamil Nadu government.

Dinakaran should go, say top jurists

Fresh from their victory in having forced the panel of senior most judges (collegium) to roll back its recommendation for promoting the controversial Karnataka High Court Chief Justice PD Dinakaran to the Supreme Court, top jurists have now said he cannot continue as a judge.

Following a series of representations by 10 senior lawyers of the Madras High Court, backed by documentary evidence on the alleged land grabbing — confirmed by the Tamil Nadu government —and passing of orders in favour of his friends by Justice Dinakaran, the collegium finally conceded to the growing public pressure.

The lawyers have now questioned his position as a high court chief justice.

“Justice Dinakaran’s continuation in the judicial system jeopardizes the integrity of the entire system and in order to prevent any further damage, he should not be permitted to function now,” Madras lawyers have said in a letter to the collegium.

Led by jurists R Vaigai and Sreeram Panchu, the lawyers have asked the CJI to order a CBI probe into the allegations against Justice Dinakaran.

“…the Supreme Court must ask the CBI to register an FIR under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 and other relevant Laws against Justice Dinakaran,” the letter said.

Justice Dinakaran’s name has been “delinked” by the collegium from the list of four other judges, recommended along with him for promotion to the Supreme Court on August 27. Decks have now been cleared for the four to be promoted to the top court.

The collegium, responsible for the appointment and promotion of judges, met thrice during the last two months to decide the issue, following serious allegations of corruption by top jurists, led by Fali S. Nariman and Shanti Bhushan, against Justice Dinakaran.

HT was the first to report about the objection by top jurists in their meeting with the Chief Justice of India (CJI), K. G. Balakrishnan on September 8.

Supporting the lawyers, the Campaign for Judicial Accountability said Justice Dinakaran’s position “had become untenable.”
“The very fact that the collegium which recommended his name in the first place, had to meet thrice, and finally tried to hide under a confused terminology for an escape route shows Justice Dinakaran should be asked to go,” said the campaign convenor, Prashant Bhushan.

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