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The Calcutta High Court has posted the suo motu case concerning the recent violence in Howrah Court to be taken up next on May 8. An order to this effect was passed today by the Division Bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijieet Banerjee, considering that Howrah is set to have elections conducted on May 6.
In the meanwhile, the Court has reiterated that law and order must be maintained at the Howrah Court. To this end, the order warns,
“The police officials and the State Government are directed to ensure that law and order is maintained and there is no intrusion into the premises of the Howrah Court without request or direction by the judicial officer in control. Law and order will be maintained subject to all directions to be issued by the Election Commission in view of the ensuing elections.
It shall be understood that there is no room for any apprehension that peaceful assembly of individuals, without being in conflict with law, will be interfered with. Police will abide by specific directions, if any, that may be issued from time to time by the Election Commission.”
The Howrah Court violence was sparked off on April 24 morning, by an altercation over parking between an elderly lawyer and a guard of the Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC). Several lawyers gathered on the spot to confront the civic guard, who had allegedly insulted their elderly colleague, leading to the escalation of the altercation.
A number of civic employees are reported to have attacked the lawyers with sticks and rods. The lawyers are said to have retaliated by pelting the civic staff with stones. Many two-wheelers parked on the HMC premises were damaged.
After the police failed to contain the situation, the Rapid Action Force was deployed. When tensions between the two groups flared up again in the evening, police and RAF resorted to lathi-charge, leaving at least 20 injured. The police have initiated two cases based on a complaint and a counter-complaint reported The Telegraph.
On April 24 itself, the Criminal Court Bar Library swung into action against the incident. It was unanimously resolved that no member of the Bar will take part in any judicial proceedings on and from April 25 to April 29. On April 29, the High Court took suo motu cognisance of the matter, based on reports submitted on the incident by the District Judge, the Chief Judicial Magistrate, and the Commissioner of Police.
On the same day, lawyers of the Howrah Court decided to continue abstaining from work until May 2. A general body meeting is expected to be convened tomorrow by the lawyers to decide on the further course of action in the matter.
Read the Calcutta High Court order passed today: