Lawyers continued their protest in Delhi days after their colleagues clashed with cops.
The face-off between the lawyers and police of Delhi escalated today with protesting lawyers forcing all the lower courts shut. A lawyer also sent a legal notice to the Delhi police chief for yesterday's marathon protests, insisting it was illegal and the protesters should be arrested within a week. The chairman of the Bar Council of India has assured action against anyone resorting to violence. "The police want full freedom to act against advocates. The police say they would withdraw security of judges and it is one of their demands. To abuse courts is not right," he said. The Delhi High Court dismissed petitions from both lawyers and the Centre, saying its November 3 order will not affect the judicial inquiry.
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On the third consecutive day of their protest, lawyers have closed the main gates at Patiala House and Saket district courts and did not allow litigants access the court premises. At the Rohini district court, a lawyer doused himself with kerosene and threatened self-immolation. Another advocate climbed the rooftop of one of the buildings in the premises, threatening to commit suicide.
Assuring that the courts will function normally from tomorrow, Bar Council chairman Mannan Mishra said action has been taken against the lawyer who slapped a police officer at the Saket Court on Monday. "We are Indians not Pakistanis," he said, then added, "The police did not take action against the Constable who had fired against the advocate".
The lawyers claim that one of their colleagues was shot in the chest during Saturday's clash at the Tis Hazari Court, in which more than 20 policemen and eight advocates were injured.
"This court should take suo motu action on the provocative statements of the police," Delhi Bar Council Chairman KC Mittal told the High Court. Despite the Bar Council of India Chairman's claim of action against the advocate who slapped a policemen, he claimed they did not know if the man concerned was an advocate.
The lawyers also demanded a gag on the media and accused the police of making provocative statements.
The Delhi Police told the court that another policeman was beaten up yesterday at Palam.
This morning, along with other senior officers, Delhi Police chief Amulya Patnaik met the Lieutenant Governor, who is the Centre's representative in Delhi. The Delhi Police are under the control of the Union Home Ministry.
At least 20 policemen and eight lawyers were injured and 20 vehicles were vandalised in Saturday's clash at Tis Hazari court, which started over a wrongly parked vehicle. The attack was followed by another violent confrontation on Monday, when a policeman was slapped and beaten outside Saket District Court by a group of lawyers.
Yesterday, at least a thousand policemen gathered outside the police headquarters, blocking an arterial road of the city. The policemen were upset over what they perceived as a lack of the government's concern about their well-being. The protesting officers submitted a list of 10 demands, which includes the creation of a Police Protection Act.
The 11-hour protest ended after action from the police brass following directions by the Lieutenant Governor. Two FIRs were filed for the violence at the Tis Hazari and the Saket courts. A petition will also be filed in the High Court asking it to review yesterday's order of suspension and transfers of the four police officers, top police officers assured.