The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lawyers stall courts with demand for judge arrest

Calcutta, May 20: About 52,000 lawyers across the state stayed away from courts for the second day today in response to a bar council call to protest firing by a judge’s bodyguard at a lawyer in Nadia’s Krishnagar on Sunday.

Almost all the judges were present in the 96 courts in the state but hearings could not take place in the absence of lawyers.

Debasish Das, the injured lawyer and general secretary of the Nadia District Bar Association, was said to be in a critical condition. Doctors at the city nursing home, where he is being treated. said Das is recovering, “but very slowly”.

The bodyguard of the president of Nadia District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Sanat Kumar Bose, shot at Das when he tried to prevent the judge and his associates from shifting his office. Bose was overseeing the relocation of the office in the criminal court building to Austin House, about 3 km away.

The lawyers of the district court had been agitating for some time against the government’s decision to shift the consumer court .

The state bar council had demanded immediate arrest of Bose, a former district judge, for allegedly ordering his guard to fire on the lawyer. The council demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident. Executive chairman of the council Uttam Majumdar said: “None of our demands has been met by the government till date. This prompted us to convene a fresh meeting on Thursday to decide the course of action.”

Apart from a few magistrate courts dealing with bail pleas, none of the city judiciaries worked. In the high court, “two or three cases were heard”.

Former chairman of the council, Saradindu Biswas, said there was no work in any of the district courts because of the “spontaneous response from the layers to the ceasework call”.

In Krishnagar, the dispute between the bar and the bench continued as the lawyers’ demand to arrest Bose did not yield result.

Nadia superintendent of police Benoy Chakraborty said: “I have not received any order to arrest the judge. If we find the judge responsible for the shooting in the course of investigation we will initiate action.”

Chakraborty also said that Bose’s bodyguard had told him that he was not ordered to fire. “We acted on the basis of prima facie evidence.”

District magistrate Krishna Gupta declined to comment on the issue. The local bar association has decided to bear the cost of Das’ treatment.

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