Support Terror, Commit Treason, Get away with it ! - II
22/03/2009 01:36:18  HARAN B R





THE LAW: What the law says





 




Taking
into consideration the fact that a particular section of lawyers have
indulged in seditious actions in support of a banned organisation, and
considering the events which unfolded from celebrating the birthday of
the LTTE Chief inside the High Court premises in November 2008, to the
major offence of burning the reports of a judicial commission in March
2009, this section of lawyers deserves punishment under following
sections of the IPC: 






 






Section 34: Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention






Section 35: When such an act is criminal by reason of its being done with a criminal knowledge or intention






Section 142: Being member of unlawful assembly






Section 145: Joining or continuing in unlawful assembly, knowing it has been commanded to disperse






Section 149: Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object






Section 150: Hiring, or conniving at hiring, of persons to join unlawful assembly






Section 153A:
Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race,
place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial
to maintenance of harmony






Section 224: Resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension






Section 225: Resistance or obstruction to lawful apprehension of another person






Section 228: Intentional insult or interruption to public servant sitting in judicial proceeding






Section 323: Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt






Section 332: Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty






Section 351: Assault






Section 436: Mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc.






Section 503: Criminal intimidation






 







Bar Council Act 38/1926 Section 10:

lists punishments for advocates’ misconduct. ‘Misconduct’ is rather a
broad term, which includes (1) unilateral withdrawal of Vakalat (2)
delaying the proceedings of the court (3) interfering in the
proceedings of the court (4) preventing normal functioning of the court
and (5) verbally abusing others using foul language.






 





There is no need for a complaint and the court can take suo motu action and punish the concerned advocates by taking disciplinary proceedings for their deplorable conduct. Even if the concerned advocate is a Supreme Court Lawyer,
he cannot claim immunity for punishments in lower courts and even a
Munsif Court can punish him. The quantum of punishment is left to the
discretion of the judge.






 






THE VERDICT: The present is only “interim,” the “final” has to ensure justice!






 




Though
the first bench, in the absence of Justice S K Mukhopadhyaya last week,
had posted further hearing on these cases to 26 March, the original
three-judge bench comprising Justice Mukhopadhyaya, Justice K Chandru
and Justice V Dhanapalan advanced the hearing to 18 March.



 




The Chennai Commissioner of Police
had submitted a report in which he contended that a team of senior
officers headed by Additional Commissioner of Police (Law & Order),
Joint Commissioner of Police (North) and other Deputy Commissioners
had decided to declare the assembly as unlawful and disperse it, and
hence the relevant measures were taken to disperse the unlawful
assembly using minimum force, as they indulged in arson and prevented
the fire service from performing its duty of putting out the fire.






 





In
its verdict, the court “ordered” suspension of JCP (North) M
Ramasubrmani (already transferred last month after the incident) and
ACP A K Viswanathan, and departmental enquiries against other officers
involved in the incident. It “asked” the lawyers to call off their
strike and return to work!






 





While
relying on Justice Srikrishna Commission’s report on the “excesses”
committed by the police, the honourable bench has not relied upon the
same to punish the lawyers. The interim order has addressed only issues
of alleged excesses by police and the entry of armed police force
without prior permission of the Acting Chief Justice. The advancing of
the hearing to 18 March and ordering punishment of two police officers
can be attributed to a desire to appease the lawyer fraternity which
had organized a massive protest rally for the 19th. Probably, the state
government had a specific agenda to make the lawyers get back to work
through an interim order of appeasement. But the lawyers didn’t stop
the march or call off the strike. Responding to the verdict, the
lawyers said it was a victory of their united show of strength - they
went ahead with the procession in the name of ‘Victory Rally’.






 





Thousands
of advocates from across the State participated, shouting slogans
against the police and several floats depicting alleged excesses of the
police were part of the rally. They burnt effigies of Chief Minister
M Karunanidhi and Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Later, the Joint
Action Committee met and decided the lawyers would end boycott and
resume work from 23 March onwards.






 






THE OPINION: Former Law Minister and former Supreme Court Judge






 





Former Law Minister and Janata Party president Dr. Subramanian Swamy said, “the decision of the Madras High Court
Special Bench to direct the suspension of two police officials for
facilitating an inquiry into the alleged unauthorized armed police
entry in the High Court campus on February 19th and the consequent
disproportionate use of force by police against the pro-LTTE
rock-throwing and arson-indulging lawyers is one-sided, that needs to
be rectified by the Court itself in future proceedings in the matter.”






 





Ridiculing
the so-called victory procession by the ‘pro-LTTE’ advocates, he said
the victory procession was perhaps carried out to hide the climb-down
from earlier demands to suspend the DGP and Chennai Police Commissioner and for a ceasefire in Sri Lanka.






 





Dr. Swamy averred, “action against criminal activities and professional misconduct
by about 20 advocates whose names figure in the February 17th FIR on
the cowardly egg-throwing incident in open court and the 19th FIR on
rioting and torching of the Police Station inside the High Court
premises, now entrusted to the CBI, cannot be kept anymore in
abeyance,” and demanded, “Justice Srikrishna’s Report on these ugly
criminal incidents, the whole matter of the rule of law and a code of
conduct for advocates will have to be thoroughly argued in Court.” He
said he would file a PIL in this regard.






 





Former
Supreme Court judge, Justice V R Krishna Iyer, in a column in
‘Mainstream’ weekly, lambasted the despicable conduct of the errant
lawyers. He said, “The lawyers, it is reported, behaved barbarian and
berserk by setting fire to police stations and motor cars.”






 





Averring
that the great reputation of the Madras High Court has been tarnished
beyond repair, Justice Krishna Iyer said, “Belligerency, once condoned
without deterrent punishment, is apt to repeat itself. The entire
judicial system in the country is shaken up. Madras today may be the
Supreme Court tomorrow. If justice dies India’s future is a functioning
anarchy. Parliament
must meet and constitute a national enquiry by a committee of statesmen
competent to give not placebos but paramount prescriptions and
proscriptions to the constitutional supremacy.”






 






THE JUSTICE! ‘Citizens for Justice’ organised a Press Meet






 





With
a seething sense of disbelief over the interim order, the forum
‘Citizens for Justice’ organized a Press Meet on 20 March to convey
their feelings and to request the judiciary to consider their
deposition before giving the final verdict. The forum took recourse to
address the media, as it felt that it has been ignored in spite of its
members being victims and some of them deposing before Justice
Srikrishna Commission.






 





The
forum felt that the judiciary does not seem to think unbecoming conduct
and violent behaviour by lawyers against ordinary citizens, action violating the law of the land and violating their oath of office,
deserves immediate, demonstrable and stringent punishment. Instead, the
judiciary chose to fulfill only the demands of the lawyer fraternity –
to punish the police for what both the Supreme Court and the Madras High Court consider contempt of court
/ excesses. The forum felt that the interim order set a new precedent
in judicial process, as a new concept of ‘judicial relief’ has been
introduced as against ‘justice delivery’.






 





Listing
the offences committed by the errant section of lawyers against their
members and contending that it has sent an appeal to the Chief Justice
of Madras High Court, the forum prayed that the Honourable Court act
immediately to punish the lawyers guilty of violence, verbal abuse,
unbecoming conduct and violation of the law of this land. Saying that
failure on part of the High Court would send a wrong signal that
well-organized violence and sustained misconduct would always pay rich
dividends, it prayed to the Madras High Court to issue orders to the
concerned associations and councils to de-bar advocates involved in
these despicable acts, just as it had issued orders against senior
police officers.






 





The
onus lies on the state government and the judiciary. Here is a great
opportunity to set right things, by adhering to the recommendations
made by Justice Srikrishna with regard to amending the “Advocate Act,”
formulating guidelines for the conduct of the lawyers, and ensuring
implementation by all Courts in the country, so that ‘Rule of Law’ is established. 





 



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