Monday, October 25, 2010

Violence in Court - Police officers' plea to be heard along with main one

The Supreme Court on Monday directed that the petitions filed by senior police officers K. Radhakrishnan, M. Ramasubramanian and Premanand Sinha, seeking transfer of the matter pending against them in the Madras High Court in connection with the violence on the court premises on February 19, 2009 to some other High court, be listed for hearing along with the main petition asking the State to initiate disciplinary proceedings against them.

A Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly had on May 4 stayed the contempt of court proceedings on petitions filed by the IPS officers.

On Monday, the Bench heard senior counsel Soli Sorabjee and Anil Divan and counsel G. Sivabalamurugan for the petitioners before tagging the transfer petitions with the main petition challenging the October 29, 2009 judgment of the High Court. Mr. Sorabjee told the Bench that the High Court Registrar General had not filed a counter, but sent a letter that the High Court would abide by whatever direction issued by the Supreme Court. He said the atmosphere in the High court was such that it would be impossible to go there. Referring to certain incidents involving lawyers, he said the virus had spread to the High Courts of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. At this juncture, Justice Singhvi said, “It has spread to Rajasthan also.” When Mr. Divan said the transfer petitions might be tagged with the main petitions, the Bench agreed and passed an order to that effect.

In their transfer petitions, the police officers submitted that they had a reasonable apprehension that justice would not be done if the proceedings were conducted before the Madras High Court. Though the Supreme Court had stayed the recommendation of the High Court regarding departmental action and the suspension proceedings, the advocates protested against the participation of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister for not taking action against the police officers involved in the February 19, 2009 incident.

By its May 12 order the Bench had stayed the order issued by the Madras High Court asking the Tamil Nadu government to initiate disciplinary proceedings against four senior police officers and to place them under suspension. The High Court had held them responsible for excesses by police personnel during a clash between lawyers and the police on the High Court premises on February 19, and had wanted them suspended to enable a fair and unbiased enquiry.

A.K. Viswanathan, the then Joint Commissioner of Police (North), had not filed any appeal.


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