Saturday, February 21, 2009

Justice in peril

The recent attack on the Madras High Court by riot police, did not stop with threatening the physical safety of lawyers. Whether you like them or lump them, lawyers have been at the forefront of public action in support of any public cause. While most of the mainstream media has gone to town seeking to tarnish the image of lawyers in the public eye and indirectly seeking to justify police goondagiri, facts and truth have become a casualty. If anyone has a commitment to neutrality and believes that even those one dislikes have constitutional rights and that assaults on lawyers and judges are an assault on democracy, the rule of law and the constitution, they will seek to unravel the lies that are being propagated by the state and being eagerly lapped up by the mainstream media, whose favourite whipping persons, lawyers seem to have become.


A. Lawyers started attacked police without provocation

B. Lawyers burnt the High Court police station down and therefore the police had to retaliate

C. Police resorted to force to protect judges and public property.

D. Hundreds of police personnel injured.


1. A large posse of regular policemen, and battalions of the Swift Action Group were deployed in close proximity to the Campus, inspite of the fact that there was no strike or boycott of courts in progress

2. more than 500 police personnel started an indiscriminate lathi charge on all and sundry in the court campus, including judges!

3. Police personnel broke windows and doors, furniture, damaged cars and motorcycles, and it was clear that the riot police were the rioters!!

4. Police continued their assault on lawyers, court staff and the general public not only within the court campus but also in the neighbouring streets of Parrys corner, targetting lawyers' offices, tailors servicing lawyers and even photocopying establishments.

5. While there was sporadic stone throwing against the police in retaliation to the lathi charge, stones were brought in and used by the police personnel.

6. It was lawyers who protected judges from assault from the police.

7. The Acting Chief Justice's calls to the police were not even answered for more than an hour.

8. Lawyers had to seek refuge in judges' chambers and even here the police attempted entry and assault.

9. More than 100 lawyers were injured and from the nature of injuries, it was clear that the police had targeted the heads of lawyers.

10. The High Court has made it clear that no permission was sought from it for the police to enter the premises or carry out any lathi charge.

11. A division bench of the High Court has also termed news reports as misleading.

These are facts as even anyone who is neutral can see it and borne out for the most part by judges, unless you prefer to be led by a biased media and a perspective independent of fact.



  1. First of all certain facts about the police violence in Madras High court campus needs to be made clear:

    1. The 19/2 incident is not a clash between lawyers and police as projected in media and also by the government. It was a brutal attack by police on lawyers, judges, court staff and public. It is one-sided. Lawyers did not attack anyone nor were they prepared for one.

    2. The police had not only attacked lawyers and innocents, but indiscrimately damaged cars, bikes and properties inside court halls, libraries, law chambers. They crossed over the road and chased lawyers to their offices in the adjoining streets. It was pre-planned as admitted by a top police official in the print media.

    3. The Police attack was planned also for the reason that similar posse of police was posted in Madurai Bench on 19/02. However, it is learnt that Justice Mishra had called the Collector and directed him to remove the police forces from the gates of the High Court premises and averted a mishap.

    One word of caution:

    The general opinion among media and public is that the lawyers are a law unto themselves and that the police excess was a result of such unruly conduct:

    To those friends, i would say that assuming it is so.... the police are dangerously and a law unto themselves. All police stations throughout india are witnesses to custodial violence, custodial death and much worse custodial rape. No one can deny this. So can we conclude that a similar attack on all police stations across the country will do good or be justified, instead of bringing only the real culprits to book?

    I strongly condemn the high handed police attack, and the insensitive approach to the issue by the Government of Tamil Nadu.


    It is disheartening to note that several among the media

  2. First time in the Judicial history this type of attack happened.The police violently assulted all the lawyers,Staffs,Public and Judges of High Court and Subordinate courts.Police came with their personels in white shirts and black pants to throw stones..When the Chief Justice and Registrar General of Madras High Court Categorically state that they had not given any Permission to the Police to enter the Court Campus, Why did the Police enter the campus? Is it not the action of police warranting punishment for Criminal Trespass...?

    High Court has to act at once to restore the glory of the Judiciary..

  3. Hello all there

    My conclusions




    - - - - - - -
    Dr.Lakshmi Narayanan
    M.B.B.S , (PhD-Clinical Neurosciences)

  4. Possible means to control people -

    1. Social strangulation

    2. Economic strangulation

    3. Emotional blackmail

    4. Brute physical force

    of the above - first one works best. latter ones least!

    Dr.Lakshmi Narayanan
    M.B.B.S , (PhD-Clinical Neurosciences)

    Dr.Lakshmi Narayanan
    M.B.B.S , (PhD-Clinical Neurosciences)


  7. " There is not a single lawless group in the whole of the country whose record of crime comes anywhere near the record of that organised unit which is known as Indian Police"
    ----- Justice N. Mulla
    High Court of Allahabad

    Unfortunately, the statement [obiter] which was made by a Judge of the High Court of Allahabad in 1960s stands very relevant and affirmed at this moment. The attack unleashed by the police is not a measure to control certain alleged events as contended by the State Police and the Media. It was a pre-planned attack not just on lawyers but on the institution -Judiciary. Any protest registered by the lawyers, though through various democratic forms, has always been viewed either as unwarranted or as a nuisance due to the media which carries the message to the general public, more driven by sensation than substance. The lawyers carry a reputation of being nation builders right from the days of freedom struggle. The social undercurrents are always reflected through lawyers. Hence, the attempt of the police to stifle the voice of people belonging to a class and the assault on constitutional functionaries is nothing but an attempt to undermine one of the important pillars of democracy, viz., Judiciary. I strongly condemn the pre-planned police violence against the lawyers, Judges, staff and the general public as well as destruction of property.

    R. S. Raveendhren.

  8. A news report I found today in e-paper of the Times of India. The link is,curpg-2.cms

    The said report claims that pitched battles were fought by lawyers and police.

    Another editorial in Hindu dated 20.9.09 - link -

    claims as under:
    It must not lose sight of the fact that within hours after it appointed a five-member committee of judges to go into the attack on Dr. Swamy, lawyers went berserk in the High Court complex, attacking the police, chasing away the litigant public and damaging court property. All these days, the police have tended to treat the lawyer community with kid gloves because of its proximity to the judiciary. Now, if they are to act firmly against trouble makers and make them realise that they are not above the law, the police would surely need the fullest cooperation from the judiciary. Taking a one-sided view of the violent clash would be a serious mistake.

    These opinions and reports seems to blame the lawyers for being victim of the violence. It is really unfortunate that while incidents such as lawyers being beaten up in Pakistan were sympathised, when a similar thing happened in Chennai, people turn blame on the lawyers themselves.

    Merely because lawyers were boycotting the courts till the date prior to the incident does not mean that the police excesses can be justified. Whatever be the reason, the police had no right to indulge in such massive violence against all and sundry who were present in the court that day. Even lawyers including women lawyers who were merely walking in the corridors were subjected to violence and have been severly injured. It was a situation where even judges had to run and hide inside their chambers. Even they were not spared. How can such a vandalism be justified under any context.


  9. If only the chicken had known that the "egg" it laid caused breakdown of constitutional machinery in TamilNadu!!!

    Stage 1 -
    Police(on behalf of state) and lawyers scuffle - each burn down others

    Stage 2 -
    Police cant lockup lawyers without consent from law machinery themselves, Lawyers have no means of physically restraining police -
    least they can do is to burn down all the police stations in vicinity

    Stage 3 -
    Breakdown of law and order . Common man on street is free to screwup anyone and flex his muscles without fear of being chargesheeted!!!!!! No wonder every citizen has right to possess fireweapons in US!!!!

    WOW WOW.

    Stage 4 -
    Civil war

    Stage 5 -
    People flexing their muscles with eachother - in the ashes of which rise "survivor of the fittest" - Truce and formation of new state!!!!!

    Stage 5 -
    New state with brand new constitution formed?????
    Afterall -- if u look back at the history - all nations rise from the ashes of revolution or war!!!!
    what a great idea -
    'If you want to build a new state - then go for war'!!!!!
    First you need to spark it - for that you need an incident to take place and win over the sympathy of general population. People can be
    fooled using techniques of praxeology - One who can predict the mass human behaviour during insecure times will rule the roost. Come to the
    age of "Mind control"

  10. This is explained well in Naomi kleins book "The shock Doctrine",M1

  11. KEHAR SINGH & ORS v. STATE (DELHI ADMN.) 1988 AIR 1883; [1988] INSC 203 (3 August 1988):
    Smt. Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister of India for three consecutive terms from 1966 to 1977 and elected for a fourth term in 1980. In 1984:
    Beant Singh (deceased) and Balbir Singh, Sub- Inspectors and Satwant Singh, a constable of Delhi Police posted for security duty in the office of the deceased Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi and Kehar Singh, an Assistant in the Directorate General of Supply and Disposal, New Delhi, who were sikhs by faith, had been expressing their resentment openly, holding Smt. Indira Gandhi responsible for the action taken at Amritsar. They met at various places and at various times to discuss and to listen to inflammatory speeches and recordings calculated to excite listeners and provoke them to retaliatary action against the decision of the Government to take army action in Golden Temple Complex. They thus became parties to a criminal conspiracy to commit the murder of Smt. Indira Gandhi.
    In pursuance of the aforesaid conspiracy Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, who had prior knowledge that Smt. Gandhi was scheduled to pass through the TMC Gate on the date and at the time afore-mentioned, manipulated their duties in such a manner that the former would be present at the TMC Gate and the latter at the TMC sentry booth on October 31.
    1984 between 7.00 and 10.00 A.M. Beant Singh got exchanged PG NO 26 his duty with S.I. Jai Narain (PW7). Satwant Singh, who ought to be at Beat No. 4, managed to get TMC sentry booth by misrepresenting that he was suffering from dysentry. He was given that place since it was near the latrine. Thus they had managed to station themselves together near the TMC gate.
    Smt. Indira Gandhi was at the head of the entourage on the cemented pathway followed by the afore-mentioned persons approaching the TMC Gate where Beant Singh, S.I. was on the left side while Satwant Singh, Constable was on the right side. At that time Beant Singh was armed with his service revolver while Satwant . Singh had SAF carbine. When Smt.
    Gandhi reached near the TMC Gate, Beant Singh fired five rounds and Satwant Singh 25 shots at her from their respective weapons, as a result of which Smt. Indira Gandhi sustained injuries and fell down. She was immediately removed to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where she succumbed to her injuries the same day.
    The cause of death was certified upon a post-mortem which took place on October 31, 1984 as haemorrhage and shock due to multiple fire arm bullet injuries which were sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature. The post- mortem report also opined that injuries Nos. 1 and 2 specified in the report were sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature, as well.
    The accused were charged for offences under Sections 34, 120B, 302 and 307 of the Indian Penal Code and found guilty. The Supreme Court of India upheld the conviction and sentence of death on Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh, and acquitted Balbir Singh. Satwant Singh, a constable of the Delhi Police, was hanged in Tihar jail in 1998, along with Kehar Singh, also a Governement Servant, for the murder of Smt. Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India.
    We now need to consider the question whether the death of the Prime Minister duly elected by the people of India could have been avoided, and whether any legal framework exists to try such persons at the earliest point of time.
    The facts in Kehar Singh & Ors. v. State (Delhi Admin) show that the accused were ruthless:
    “Beant Singh (deceased) and accused Satwant Singh were posted on the security duty of the Prime Minister to protect her from any intruder or from any attack from outside and, therefore, if they themselves resort to this kind of offence, there appears to be no reason or no mitigating circumstance for consideration on the question of sentence. Additionally, an unarmed lady was attacked by these two persons with a series of bullets and it has been found that a number of bullets entered her body.” (per Oza J)
    The conduct of the accused Kehar Singh, after the murder, was observed as follows:
    “The post crime conduct of Kehar Singh is conclusive of his guilt. He was cognizant of all the details of the coming tragedy and waiting to receive the news on that fateful day. That would be clear from the testimony of Nand Lal Mehta (PW 59) who was an office colleague of Kehar Singh. He has deposed that Kehar Singh had met him in the third floor corridor of the office at about 10-45 A.M. on October 31, 1984. By that time the news of the murderous attack on the Nation's Prime Minister came like a thunder- blot from a clear sky. The messenger had told that 'some- body' had shot at Smt. Gandhi. PW 59 then enquired from Kehar Singh as to what had happened. Kehar Singh replied that "whosoever would take confrontation with the Panth, he would meet the same fate." So stating, he went away. It may be noted that at that time, there was no specific information to the outside world whether any Sikh had shot the Prime Minister or anybody else. Unless Kehar Singh had prior knowledge, he could not have reacted with those words.” (per Shetty J)
    A curious event recorded as part of the case is this:
    “In the first week of September 1984, when a falcon (Bazz) happen to sit on a tree near the main Reception of the Prime Minister's House at about 1.30 P.M. Balbir Singh spoted the falcon. called Beant Singh there and pointed out the falcon. Both of them agreed that it had brought a message of the Tenth Guru of the Sikhs and that they should do something by way of revenge of the 'Operation Blue Star'.”
    More intelligence could have possibly led to the discovery of the plan to assassinate the Prime Minister after the falcon incident.
    Now, let us assume that the Sub-Inspector of Police and the Constable, were armed with nothing more than lathis (batons) and still wanted to go ahead with their plans to take revenge.
    The lathis are not so innocent as they appear to be. They are deadly weapons. It is a milder version of the mace, that is part and parcel of Indian history, culture and mythology. A single hard blow with the lathi on the skull is sufficient to cause death. Early apes are known to have wielded it and one of the oldest weapons known to man.
    Now, let us assume further that the Police in question attacked the Prime Minister with lathis, but they were unsuccessful with their designs. The question now arises, how the accused would have been dealt with in those circumstances.
    The accused are Policemen governed by the Police Act, 1888. Under the Police Act, 1888 or their variants (say, TN District Police Act, 1859, or the TN City Police Act, 1888), the maximum sentence contemplated is three months of imprisonment for insubordination and their mutiny is not even contemplated. They could be charged for causing harm to the human body under the Indian Penal Code, yet, that is hardly comparable with the provisions available to prosecute members of the Armed, Air and Naval Forces. Under the Army Act, any mutiny and serious insubordination is punishable with death after court martial. Under the Chapter VII of the Indian Penal Code, anyone who abets mutiny by officers of the armed forces could also be punished with death.
    It is quite a serious lacuna that the Police Acts and the Indian Penal Code do not have provisions similar to those in the Army Act to punish acts of violence calculated to assault constitutional functionaries and undermine democracy.
    The Application of Chapter VII to Singapore Police Force
    140B. The provisions of this Chapter relating to offences committed in relation to members of the Singapore Armed Forces or any visiting forces lawfully present in Singapore shall apply, with the necessary modifications, to similar acts committed in relation to members of the Singapore Police Force or any volunteer, auxiliary or special force attached to, or coming under the jurisdiction of, that Force.

    The Singapore penal code (based on our code) has inserted section 140B to cover mutiny by members of the Singapore Police Force, as follows:
    140B. The provisions of this Chapter relating to offences committed in relation to members of the Singapore Armed Forces or any visiting forces lawfully present in Singapore shall apply, with the necessary modifications, to similar acts committed in relation to members of the Singapore Police Force or any volunteer, auxiliary or special force attached to, or coming under the jurisdiction of, that Force.

    There is a very urgent need to bring in suitable amendments to our penal laws, so that police atrocities against constitutional functionaries are kept under check.

  12. For the first time in our judicial history advocates, staffs and judiciary have been mercilessly beaten up by the police force and our hard earned belongings were destroyed in front of our eyes. it is a death blow to our judiciary. It is really disgusting on the part of the incapable and dysfunctional Government of Tamil Nadu to remain silent on this issue. The only way to restore the dignity of our judiciary is to fight and agitate in a peaceful manner. Hats off to all the advocates for their adorable efforts in this issue. we should certainly find out the cheap politics played behind this. I strongly condemn the media for their projection as"A CLASH BETWEEN THE ADVOCATES AND THE POLICE" Wherein only the Advocates are the victims of this violence. I am deeply anguished and disheartened in this issue.