| HC advocates’ association president Mahesh Tewary addresses the meet. Picture by Manik Bose
Ranchi, Sept. 13: High court lawyers today resolved to boycott the court of the chief justice (CJ) tomorrow to protest “misbehaviour with a senior lawyer” in the courtroom.
Claiming that CJ Justice M. Karpagavinayagam had insulted senior advocate Manjul Prasad this morning, agitated lawyers called for an emergent meeting of the High Court Advocates’ Association. Lawyers complained of the CJ’s rude behaviour and demanded his transfer.
Justice Karpagavinayagam, said lawyers at the meeting, has little knowledge of Hindi. But when lawyers try to speak in English, the CJ has often pulled them up for their poor English or made fun of their pronunciation, the lawyers complained.
Efforts by high court judges M.Y. Eqbal and Amreshwar Sahay, who invited the Association’s office-bearers to sort out the differences, failed to break the ice.
The incident this morning, according to witness accounts, involved senior advocate Prasad when he was arguing a case on behalf of the state government. The lawyer, in course of his arguments, referred to two affidavits filed by a government officer.
But the facts mentioned in the two affidavits were found to be contradictory and different, prompting the chief justice to lose his cool. He accused Prasad of trying to mislead the court and asked the advocate never to appear before his court again.
The CJ was eventually calmed down by the intervention of advocate-general S.B. Gadodia.
But agitated lawyers were in no mood to remain quiet. A requisition was made for a meeting and Prasad, as well as other lawyers, said if the affidavits were false, the responsibility lay with the government officer. The CJ, they said, had been misbehaving and insulting lawyers for a long time.
Lawyers also spoke out against the advocate-general (AG).
The AG, they said, had never sided with the advocates but always with the judges. This morning too, they complained, instead of pointing out that it was unfair to admonish the lawyer for no fault of his, the advocate-general eulogised the CJ.
Resentment against the CJ appeared to have been brewing for some time. His outburst in the court this morning provided the flash point.