Chennai:Â The standoff between the Madras high court and the Bar over the list of 12 names recommended by the court collegium for appointment as judges, worsened with the lawyers announcing boycott of all courts in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday to support their demand for the recall of the list.
The Bar is alleging that the list is heavily loaded in favour of some communities, particularly the Brahmins.
Even as the court corridors tensed up by the lawyersâ agitation, the two judges hearing a related petition from senior lawyer R. Gandhi seeking recall of the âlistâ sent to the Supreme Court recused themselves on Tuesday.
This followed a âmemoâ presented by S. Prabakaran, counsel forÂ R.Â Gandhi, seeking change of bench because one of the judges on the present bench, Justice P. N. Prakash is a Brahmin and the other judge S. Rajeswaranâs junior is on the âlistâ. NowÂ R.Â Gandhiâs petition is likely to come up before another bench shortly.
Meanwhile, the Madras high court advocatesâ association (MHAA) held an âextraordinaryâ general body meeting in the court complex and took the decision to boycott all courts on Wednesday.
The association demanded the âimmediate dropping/withdrawalâ of the list said to have been sent by the high court (to the Supreme Court) for appointing as judges of the high court, according to its president R. C. Paul Kanagaraj.
Sloganeering lawyers storm into CJ office
J. Stalin |?DC
Chennai;Â A group of about 50 lawyers, mostly left-oriented, on Tuesday stormed into the office of the chief justice and demanded that the âlist of 12â sent by the high court to the Supreme Court for appointment as judges be recalled as it lacked transparency.
They also raised slogans protesting that Brahmins dominated the âlistâ while some other castes were not represented despite there being talented lawyers among them.
Spokesmen for the demonstrators, lawyers C Vijayakumar and K Muthuramalingam told reporters that the CJ told four among the group, who were allowed in to meet him, that he would look into the demand.
âHe also told us that the list was prepared by not only the collegium (comprising three senior-most judges including CJ) but was also discussed with seven other senior judges before being finalisedâ, Vijayakumar said.
Earlier, the MHAA in its âextraordinary GBâ session demanded that the process of selection of lawyers for elevation as judges âbe done afresh by following the principles laid down by the Apex Court with all transparency by disclosing the names proposed to the Bar and after consulting the Bar in order to avoid later comments and complicationsâ.
Also, the association wanted two Tamil-knowing judges be included in the collegium that recommends names for elevation as high court judgesâin the present collegium, the chief justice and the second senior-most judge are from outside Tamil Nadu and only Justice Chitra Venkataraman, the third senior-most judge is a Tamil.
Association president R C Paul Kanagaraj said the lawyers also demanded that only persons of good ability and character, besides creditable court practice, should hereafter be considered for elevation as judges.
Also, due representation should be given to all communities âin consonance with the principles of social justice and basic objectives of the Constitution of Indiaâ....