Cases to be decided if Tamil Nadu lawyers continue strike

CHENNAI - Madras High Court Chief Justice H.L. Gokhale warned Saturday that cases would be disposed off on merit Monday onwards if lawyers in Tamil Nadu continued to stay off work.

‘To help litigants suffering due to the mass action by lawyers in Tamil Nadu, matters will be disposed off on merit by all courts ex parte in the absence of lawyers Monday onwards,’ Gokhale said.

Agitating advocates indicated they would not suspend their protests including picketing the Madras High Court here.

‘Till the offending police officials including Director General of Police K.P. Jain and Commissioner K. Radhakrishnan are suspended and prosecuted for beating up unarmed harmless lawyers and judges within the precincts of the Madras High Court Feb 19, we will continue boycotting courts,’ T. Mohan, an activist advocate told IANS.

According to Madras High Court Advocates’ Association President Paul Kanagaraj, various lawyers’ bodies are scheduled to meet in Chennai to decide the future course of action in the light of Gokhale’s announcement.

Meanwhile, lawyers supporting the state’s ruling party DMK, who attended courts in nearby Vellore, were assaulted Friday by their colleagues who were on strike, witnesses said.

Police watched the fracas as mute spectators, as lawyers tore off each others’ shirts and gowns, the witnesses added.

The confrontation between police and lawyers began two months ago after a section of the legal fraternity began vociferously protesting against the Sri Lankan army’s actions against Tamils in the island’s war-torn northeast.

Besides public property, a police station was set ablaze Feb 19.

A one-man probe headed by retired Supreme Court judge Srikrishna faulted both the parties but accepted the overall version of the police which angered the lawyers further.

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