Chennai: As many as 384 advocates, including a dozen women lawyers, who were among those staging a protest outside the Madras high court were arrested and released later. Several thousand lawyers from across the state were picketing the court campus on Monday demanding that the HC withdraw its May notification to amend the Advocates Act which empowers the debarring of erring lawyers.
Squatting on Muthuswamy road despite repeated requests from the cops assigned to protect the perimeter of the campus in George Town, the group of advocates courted arrest late evening.
The Monday protest was planned as part of the movement launched by the Joint-Action-Committee (JAC) formed to fight against the amendments made to the Advocates Act, which a major section of the advocates believe to be “arbitrary in nature and draconian.”
The Bar Council of India (BCI) had issued its suspension orders to as many as 126 lawyers and JAC members late on Sunday evening, thus intensifying Monday’s stir.
Anticipating the adversarial move of the advocates, a total of 1,200 policemen drawn from the city and the Armed Reserve were posted for security and the number of CISF personnel on the campus was doubled. All the arterial roads that lead to 8 gates of the Madras high court were barricaded making it tough for the litigants and advocates to find their way inside the Court. Normalcy was affected in the Parry’s area with the nearby Broadway bus terminus wearing a deserted look as no buses were operated from it from 9.30 am onwards until late evening.
At around 7.30 pm, the cops were still trying to pacify the protesters, advising them to disperse from the spot. However, the protesting lot persisted on remaining until 8.30 pm and the cops subsequently declared them as under arrest and removed them from the spot.
The arrested advocates were taken to four different shelters — three private marriage halls in Royapuram, Perambur Barracks road, and Raja Annamalai road and a community centre in Chetpet....