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Lawyer-Police clash: Delhi HC says its Nov 3 order applicable to Nov 2 FIRs only

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Delhi High Court Wednesday clarified that its November 3 order, not to take coercive steps against lawyers, was only in relation to the two FIRs lodged on November 2 with regard to the clash between the police and lawyers at Tis Hazari Courts Complex.

With this, the bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar allowed and disposed of the Centre's plea urging the court to clarify that the November 3 order would not be applicable to subsequent incidents of violence.

A separate application was moved by Delhi Police on Wednesday, through the central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, seeking modifications in the court's observations regarding how a lawyer was allegedly dragged into the lockup of the district court, the firing by one of the policemen posted there leading to gun shot injuries to three advocates and the order of lathi charge given by a senior officer on November 2.

The police had sought removal of the observations so that they are not read and interpreted as "conclusive findings" against them in any investigation.

The bench disposed of the application saying the observations were "prima facie" and "tentative" in nature and were "only to be read in the context of the order dated November 3, 2019".

"Otherwise, these facts are to be proved on the basis of the evidences on record," it said.

The court also expressed anguish over the "dissonance and friction" prevailing between the bar and the police -- which represent and constitute "the preserver and the protector of the rule of law" and suggested a meeting between "responsible representatives" of both sides to "sort out their differences amicably, on the basis of discussion and deliberations".

"They (police and lawyers) are but two faces of the coin of justice, and it is essential, for the rule of law to prevail, that they work in close proximity and harmony. Any dissonance, or friction, between them, is deleterious to peace and harmony, and destructive of public interest, in the long run.

"In our view, therefore, it would be advisable, in this case, that a joint meeting, of responsible representatives of the advocates and the police establishment be convened, who should make a sincere effort to meet and sort out their differences amicably, on the basis of discussion and deliberations, with the objective of dissolution of their differences, which, in our view, have essentially arisen owing to a communication gap, during the last few days.

"We are hopeful that, if a sincere attempt is made in this direction, peace and harmony will ultimately prevail," the bench said in its 10-page order.

The first application for clarification was filed, through central government standing counsel Anil Soni, on Tuesday after an on-duty policeman and a civilian were allegedly thrashed by advocates outside Saket Court on Monday and on Tuesday.

The hearing, which was held in court 1 of the chief justice, witnessed a show of strength by the lawyers who came in such huge numbers that the room was jam packed, with both its doors wide open and many advocates milling around outside it as also on the 2nd floor corridor which was also overrun by them.

Prior to commencement of the hearing and even during it, the lawyers were heard making sarcastic comments about the police officers and journalists who present there, leading to some of the scribes moving out of the court room.

Often the leaders of the bar, who were right at the front of the room, had to tell their colleagues to be silent so that submissions made before the bench and its response can be heard.

The number of lawyers who came for the hearing, even from the trial courts, could not be accommodated in the court room which is the largest of all the rooms in the high court.

During the hearing, senior advocates Mohit Mathur, Rakesh Khanna and Kirti Uppal as well as Bar Council of India chairman Manan Kumar Mishra, and other bar leaders told the court that the applications were being moved to seek orders which could be used to harass the lawyers.

"Our leaders would be implicated in cases if these applications are allowed," they said.

They also urged the bench to bar the media from reporting anything related to the ongoing tensions between police and advocates, as it was "painting the lawyers in black".

They contended that the actions of the police officer, of making "provocative" statements on TV and Twitter, and the media reporting was only worsening the entire situation and was hampering the efforts being made to resolve the entire thing amicably.

The moment the proceedings concluded, the lawyers started clapping, cheering and raised slogans.

Lawyers in all the six district courts here abstained from work for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, protesting against the clash between advocates and the police at the Tis Hazari Courts Complex last Saturday, and denied access to litigants in some courts.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, November 06 2019. 20:30 IST
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