This Article is From Nov 03, 2019

High Court Suspends 2 Cops, Orders Judicial Probe In Tis Hazari Violence

At least 20 police officers and eight lawyers were injured, and at least 20 vehicles were vandalised or damaged, after violence broke out in Delhi's Tis Hazari court on Saturday

High Court Suspends 2 Cops, Orders Judicial Probe In Tis Hazari Violence

Tis Hazari Court: A police car was set afire by irate lawyers amid clashes at the complex

New Delhi:

Two senior police officers have been transferred and two others have been suspended by the Delhi High Court today, after violent clashes broke out between lawyers and police officers at the city's Tis Hazari court complex on Saturday. The High Court, which took suo motu cognisance of the incident and held an emergency hearing at 3 pm, also ordered a judicial inquiry. The court has appointed a retired judge, SP Garg, to lead an investigation that is to be completed within six weeks. He is to be assisted by the Directors of the CBI and the Intelligence Bureau, or officials appointed by them.

The court also awarded compensation of Rs 50,000. Rs 15,000 and Rs 10,000 to the injured advocates. In addition, the court also directed first information reports (FIRs) be lodged immediately and the best possible medical treatment be given to the injured lawyers.

Describing the orders as "historic", the Bar Council of India has called on lawyers who had threatened to go on an indefinite hunger strike from Tuesday to "maintain peace and harmony and not resort to any sort of abstention or boycott".

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal visited the injured lawyers today and said that his government would bear the cost of their medical expenses.

"Opening fire without any reason is not right. I have just met the lawyers who were injured in the incident. One sustained bullet injury on his chest and the other on his hand. Both are in stable condition now. Delhi government will take care of all their medical expenses," Mr Kejriwal told news agency ANI.

The Chief Minister also urged police and lawyers to refrain from such unseemly behaviour.

"Our lawyers get justice for the people and the police protect people. We want good relations to prevail between the two. I hope no such incident takes place in the future," he said.

At least 20 police officers and eight lawyers were injured after on-duty officers objected to a lawyer parking his car in front of the lockup at the Tis Hazari court complex on Saturday. They said the car was hindering movement of vehicles bringing undertrials. In the violence that broke out 12 motorcycles, eight prison vans and a police vehicle was also damaged. A journalist belonging to a prominent news agency was also assaulted.

Today's emergency hearing comes after the Delhi High Court took suo motu cognisance of Saturday's incident. The Chief Justice took a "very serious view" of the incident and said the court was "deeply concerned about the safety of litigants and lawyers".

Before the hearing in the High Court, the Supreme Court Bar Association met Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and asked for "immediate appropriate directions... for protection of lawyers".

At the hearing various lawyers demanded the police officer or officers who fired on their colleagues be immediately arrested. Appearing for the Bar Council of India, Advocate Mohit Mathur alleged the Delhi Police were pinning the blame on a "scapegoat".

"Police are not even allowed to carry fully loaded weapon to court complex. Many protocols flouted... lady lawyers have complained they were attacked... one advocate was dragged by 14 police officers. It is all captured on CCTV footage," he said, while also demanding no action be taken in FIRs against the lawyers without the court's permission.

"They want to paint us as villains," he claimed.

In response, the police told the court that four FIRs had already been filed and a fifth would soon follow. Forensic teams were also deployed, the police said, adding that an Assistant Sub Inspector rank officer, who has been accused of dragging a lawyer to the lockup, had already been suspended.

Heavy police presence has been deployed at the court complex to guard against more violence.

Saturday's confrontation between lawyers and police echoed one that happened in Kolkata in April, when a lawyer trying to park his motorcycle in front of a Howrah Municipal Corporation gate was allegedly roughed up by a civic employee. The incident escalated after others lawyers retaliated and turned violent after a Rapid Action Force team of Bengal Police was deployed.

A group of lawyers who met then-Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi demanded action against a senior officer who allegedly ordered the lawyers beaten. The Calcutta High Court took suo motu cognisance of the incident.

With input from ANI