Rajat Sharma

Lawyers must curb the tendency to resort to violence

akb3010A minor quarrel over parking issue between a policeman and a lawyer outside Tees Hazari court in Delhi on Saturday escalated into violent clashes between the policemen and lawyers in the court premises. Police resorted to lathi charge and firing, advocates were beaten up and the lawyers set fire to vehicles.

The Delhi High Court on Sunday directed immediate transfer and suspension of police officers and ordered a probe. On Monday, lawyers in Delhi went on strike, but several video clips that appeared on social media tell a different story. One video clip showed a group of lawyers entering the police control room at Saket court and vandalizing it. Another clip showed a lawyer beating up a policeman who had gone there for some court work. A few litigants who had come to court were beaten up by some lawyers.

All these videos are shocking, to say the least. If one looks at the videos made by lawyers showing the police beating up advocates, it will appear as a police excess. But if one looks at video clips in which lawyers beat up policemen and vandalized police control room, then it tells the other side of the story. The Chief Justice of Delhi High Court sat on Sunday and gave directions against the police. None of the lawyers were arrested, but police offers were suspended or transferred. An independent committee headed by a retired High Court judge was set up to probe the Tees Hazari violence.

In view of this, the lawyers should have exercised restraint and waited for the probe report to come. To the best of my knowledge, most of the lawyers in Delhi supported the High Court’s directives. On the other side, these incidents have caused demoralization in the police force. The IPS officers’ association tweeted that police officers across India stand in solidarity with policemen subjected to physical assault and humiliation.

The incidents that happened on Monday outside Saket court could have been avoided. The video of lawyers beating up a policeman brings a bad name to the legal community, and this act cannot be justified. Incidentally, Bar Council elections are going to be held now, and it appears that some of the lawyers are misusing these incidents to incite their brethren and garner votes.

I have spoken to some senior advocates and they have unequivocally said that such tendencies need to be curbed. The common man seems to be perturbed after seeing lawyers thrashing policemen. If the morale of policemen takes a hit, who will protect the city, this capital and this country?

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