Anguished by slogans raised by lawyers inside the Madras high court, asking him to go back to Kashmir or Delhi, Chief Justice Madras High Court Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Friday said he was prepared to go back, but was worried about the image of the court, Reported the Times of India.
“They raised slogans asking me to go back. I am anguished…I do not have any objection to go anywhere, but my worry is only about the great institutional tradition of the Madras high court. It is up to you to save the tradition or degrade it,” Chief Justice Kaul, who is from Jammu & Kashmir, observed according to the TOI report.
He made the observations while hearing a PIL against the state government’s decision to split Dr Ambedkar Law College located on the high court campus, and relocate it as two institutions in the neighbouring Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts.
According to the report earlier this week, when a group of advocates met him in his chambers and took exception to his choice of candidates for appointment as judges of the court, Chief Justice Kaul told them that he would not work under threat and he would not take instructions from anyone on the matter.
The reports said that on Friday, he asked what would government authorities who are pulled up for contempt of court and law students think of advocates if they witness the latter’s unruly behavior. Lawyers needed to introspect over their behaviour, Chief Justice Kaul said, adding, “Their conduct would be a deterrent to good people who come to the bench.”
The court campus has been witnessing rallies, fasts, dharnas and boycotts during the past week over two issues – one, Bar functionaries and lawyers are upset with a list of nine names forwarded to the Supreme Court for appointment as judges of the high court; two, law students and sections of lawyers are up in arms against the proposal to shift the law college.
On Thursday, the report said that the protesting lawyers barged into several court halls and raised slogans. They screamed that Chief Justice Kaul should go back to his home state of Jammu and Kashmir. On Friday, the Chief Justice said he had met the Bar functionaries several times over the appointment of judges. “If we keep meeting advocates alone, where would be time to do any judicial work,” he asked.
Noting that efficient people are not willing to become judges because of the behavior of advocates, Chief Justice Kaul told lawyers, “It is in your hands to either respect or tarnish the image of this great institution.”
The Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) had declared a court boycott on Friday, and a day-long protest meeting was also held on the campus. MHAA president R C Paul Kanagaraj reportedly said only if the Bar was taken into confidence would advocates render all assistance for smooth functioning of courts. Lawyers too have a responsibility in ensuring that only deserving people were elevated as judges, he said.