M A I N   N E W S

Slapping case: Punjab & Haryana HC lawyers to resume work
Saurabh Malik/TNS

Chandigarh, March 7
Agitating Punjab and Haryana High Court lawyers today decided to resume work from Monday after a Division Bench marked an inquiry into the alleged slapping of a lawyer at the entrance to the court a fortnight ago.

Also, further investigations in the FIR registered against the lawyers have been ordered to be stayed and the top brass of the Chandigarh Police and the administration have been put on notice.

The decision to continue with the strike and resume work later came with twists and turns. After Chief Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri and Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain took cognizance of the matter this morning, the lawyers initially decided to resume work from Friday.

In fact, messages were flashed to lawyers that “in view of the suo motu orders passed by the first Division Bench, staying the proceedings of the FIR against the lawyers and marking an independent inquiry to the Registrar (Vigilance), the General Bar of the High Court Bar Association has unanimously resolved to resume the court work from March 8”.

But the decision left the Bar divided. A section of lawyers was against the resumption of work. One of the reasons being the registration of a second FIR on Wednesday evening against agitating lawyers for rioting and assault on police under Sections 188, 332, 353, 147 and 149 of the IPC and Section 3 of the Public Defacement Act.

Another ground for continuing with the strike was that the Bar Council had responded to the call given by the Bar Association. It had already asked the Bar associations of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to go on strike on March 7 and 8. They were of the view that it was not feasible to inform the Bar Council and the Bar associations of the decision to resume work instantaneously.

Deliberations continued on the issue throughout the day. The Bar Association convened a General House meeting at 5 pm. It was unanimously resolved that “in view of call of the Bar Council to all Bar associations in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh for the two-day strike starting March 7, the High Court Bar members will abstain from court work on March 8 and resume court work on Monday”. The decision came with a rider that the General House would meet again on Monday at 1 pm for a review.

Earlier during the day, the Bench on judicial side directed Registrar (Vigilance) Shekhar Kumar Dhawan to carry out a fact-finding inquiry. After going through the FIR, the Bench felt that an independent inquiry by an independent person was needed.

“Thus, we issue notice to the Chandigarh Administration through Home Secretary, IGP, SSP and the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association for March 11.”

The order added that Registrar (Vigilance) Shekhar Kumar Dhawan would carry out a fact-finding inquiry after hearing head constable Ramesh Chand and lawyer Rupinder Singh Khosla, and submit the report on March 11. Till the next date, investigation into the FIR by the police would remain stayed.

The Bench added it was a matter of common knowledge that an untoward incident happened on the court premises on February 26, which led to some altercation between a policeman and some members of the Bar.

On the policeman’s complaint, an FIR was registered on March 4 after a gap of one week, and the Bar Association passed a resolution on March 5 condemning the registration of the FIR.

The directives

  • Division Bench marks inquiry into alleged slapping of a lawyer at the Punjab and Haryana HC a fortnight ago
  • Investigations into the FIR registered against lawyers stayed; the police and the administration put on notice
  • Registrar (Vigilance) Shekhar Kumar Dhawan orders a fact-finding inquiry

Lawyers-police clash in Jaipur

  • Agitating lawyers clashed with the police and went on rampage in protest against Wednesday’s police action against them
  • The issue was raised in the state Assembly by the Opposition, but the Rajasthan Government justified the police action





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