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Mr Minister, is there a govt in state, asks high court judge
March, 03rd 2012

"Is there a government in Karnataka? Whom is it protecting?" A senior high court judge posed this question to home minister R Ashoka when he came to meet chief justice Vikramjit Sen on Friday evening.

"We asked Ashoka whether there is any government in the state or not. We also discussed law and order and security," Justice KL Manjunath told a group of advocates at the high court. He appealed to members of the legal fraternity to maintain calm. "We had gone there (City Civil Court complex) and saw everything for ourselves. We discussed the matter with the chief justice. We also held discussions with the home minister when he came to meet the chief justice. We are with you. There is nothing to worry. Those of you who have lost vehicles and those who have suffered injuries can give us the details in writing. We will see what can be done," the judge told members of Advocates' Association of Bangalore. "When we came to know about the developments at 1pm, we rushed to the City Civil Court complex, even skipping our lunch. We have spoken to the home minister and the DG&IG . There is no need for anybody to fear. We should bear in mind that violence cannot be won by violence. We must have patience,'' Justice HN Nagamohan Das said.

In Neighbouring High Court

An uneasy calm prevailed in the high court even as the City Civil Court complex, just about 1km away, turned into a virtual battleground. Proceedings in the high court were normal though news about the turn of events at the civil court complex kept trickling in. Around noon, the HC registrar-general informed the chief justice about the deteriorating situation in the civil court complex.

Twenty minutes later, the division bench headed by the chief justice rose for the day. A four-member team of judges, headed by Justice K Sreedhar Rao, administrative judge for the civil court, went to the hotspot for inspection. High court advocates, meanwhile, kept watching TV to know the latest developments. Rumours rent the air. There was talk of two advocates dying in police action, while some said 20 policemen had been locked up in a room. At 3.30pm, a group of advocates went around the court requesting judges to suspend proceedings. By then, many judges had finished off their daily list. Advocates complained about the media not portraying the sequence of events correctly. "The channels repeatedly showed one of their personnel being attacked. However, they didn't show a single clipping of advocates being beaten up or manhandled,'' they alleged.

No-Sitting Day Today

The high court has issued a notification declaring Saturday as 'no-sitting day' for all courts functioning in Bangalore. "In view of the incident, Saturday has been declared a no-sitting day for all courts functioning in the City Civil Court complex, CMM courts, Small Causes courts, Mayo Hall courts, industrial tribunals, labour courts, family courts and Bangalore Rural courts," the high court notification said.

Pent-up anger exploded?

A senior police official said Friday's turn of events is the result on '' an undercurrent of simmering anger among lawyers against the media that exploded violently'' . Advocates were reportedly upset with the bad publicity their seven-hour road blockade near Mysore Bank Circle in January had earned. In early February, a group of advocates attacked crew of a private TV channel that had gone near the local court premises to cover an event. After this, a journalists' association decided to boycott all events organized by the Advocates' Association of Bangalore till the lawyers apologized. '' When the media boycotted a recent press conference, a few lawyers warned journalists not to enter the court premises. But we hadn't taken it seriously. Police intelligence, too, failed as it should have anticipated that something could happen on Friday given that a strong media contingent would arrive at the court to cover Janardhana Reddy's appearance in the court,'' a journalist added.

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