Clash between Lawyers and Police in Madras High Court

The Madras High Court turns out to be a dramatic and action place, since the most worst riots are happening only inside this place where the justice is given.Recently there was a clash between Law College Students and police personnel’s were looking at those incidents,since they were been ordered to do so.But today it was a complete different situation.

Yes,Today i.e on Feb 19 at 3’o clock, there was a clash between the Lawyers who were protesting and the Police persons who were on duty.The Lawyers were staging a protest against the Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy seeking his arrest.Mr.Swami was attacked by some group of lawyers in Madras High court on the case of Chidhambaram temple.On return,it seems that Mr.Swami allegedly shouted at the lawyers with racial discrimination words.This one ignited the Lawyers to protest.

When this was going, some Lawyers attacked the Police personnels and there was huge mess up between the Police and Lawyers.Lathi Charge was made and the Lawyers were running inside the Court for hiding themselves.They might have seen the true face of Police this day.Even Police are human beings and their mercy too have some limits.With broken limbs and bones, the Lawyers were taken to hospital.All this was due to the riot inside the High court and because of this attack a journalist and Judge were injured.The High Court Police Station were set ablaze in this incident.The Video taken by the media people,shows that Police attacking everyone and shattering the glasses of cars.Action like this would teach a very good lesson to these unfaithful lawyers and only because of these people we cannot identify who are genuine lawyers.

The people who are responsible for this should be condemned and severe action should be taken against these people.This is not the first time happening, this has happened many a times.Our state slowly turning out to be like Bihar , Jharkhand.If this continues people here inside the High court who say themselves are Lawyers, will one day become butchers.

According to me, Police has taken less action against them, it should be more severe such that,it should become a lesson to everyone.

Continuous strikes, closing of court, disturbing the court activities,involving in political protests and more makes these people as irresponsible ones.Every one has a job to do and they should do that with loyalty.Law is the only wall of our nation, dont break it slowly.


4 thoughts on “Clash between Lawyers and Police in Madras High Court”

  1. This the real picture of what had happened in the High Court on 19.2.2009.

    There is a total breakdown of the Constitutional machinery in the State of Tamilnadu and the administration of justice has come to a grinding halt.

    We submit this memorandum to you with deep anguish, pain and shock at the brutal attack by the State Police on judges, advocates, staff, litigants and the general public within the precincts of the High Court, Madras and the neighbourhood, on 19.02.09. We seek your urgent intervention to restore the majesty and the rule of law and the public confidence in the administration of justice in the State of Tamil Nadu.

    The police violence on the afternoon of the 19.02.09 within the precincts of the Chartered High Court of Madras have left the judiciary in Tamilnadu in shambles. The State Government has not come forward to hold itself accountable.

    The following sequence of events clearly show that the violence had nothing to do with the lawyer’s boycott, who resumed work on 19.02.09 and that the police carried out a premeditated and well planned attack on the judiciary which lasted unabated for nearly 4 hours from 3.30. p.m.

    • 9.30 a.m.- Nearly 200 regular policemen, Swift Action Group, Riot Control Police had been gathered around the High Court premises in Madras.

    • Similar deployment was at the Madurai Bench. (The police are on record saying that they were prepared – See the Times of India, Chennai Edition, 21-Feb-09, page 2).

    • 2.30 pm – 16 advocates went to the B4 High Court Police Station to surrender in connection with the incident that took place in the High Court when Mr. Subramaniam Swamy’s case was heard. They also wanted a complaint registered against Mr. Swamy for having abused a lawyer by his caste name.

    • It appears that though the police were persuaded to register the complaint, they made the surrender of advocates accused by Mr. Swamy of assault a precondition.

    • 3.00 pm – About 200 Armed Police suddenly arrived near the Police station in vans.

    • 3.15 pm – Though the advocates surrendered voluntarily, the police manhandled them and pushed them into the van.

    • Advocates objected to the manhandling.. There were less than a 100 advocates, litigants and others present there.

    • 3.30 pm – The police offensive increased . Most of the gates of the High Court were closed by the police, thus trapping the judges, advocates and litigants inside the campus.

    • Stones were pelted from all directions. Reports say that the police started to throw first.

    • Lathicharge of advocates by the armed riot police started.
    • Fresh reinforcements of the Special Action Group (riot police) arrived (nearly 200) and the lathi charge continued with greater instensity and the police chased advocates into court halls and chamber blocks.

    • The Hon’ble Acting Chief Justice with some judges like Justice A.C.Arumuga Perumal Adityan, Justice R.Sudhakar, Justice Mohan Ram, Justice Sashidaran, Justice Satyanarayana, and Justice Jyothimani came out of their chambers/court halls hearing the commotion. The police did not spare the judges and the advocates who shielded them suffered grievous injuries and are hospitalized.
    • Justice Arumugha Perumal Adityan sustained injuries
    • The Acting Chief Justice ran towards the registry office in the high court annexe building. However the offices were bolted from inside by the staff fearing the police. Only when the accompanying advocates and staff banged the door announcing the presence of the Acting Chief Justice were the doors opened. Other Judges ran in different directions.

    • 4.00 pm – The judges took refuge in the chambers of the
    Acting Chief Justice, who tried in vain to contact the Chennai City Police Commissioner, the DGP and the Chief Secretary telephonically.

    • 4.00 to 6.00 pm- The Police entered court halls, advocates chambers, administrative offices and lathi-charged both advocates and others present. The police dragged advocates and any other person found even on floors above the ground level and beat them. Women advocates were also not spared. In addition to the physical assault, they were also subjected to sexist offensive language.
    • The policemen barged into the court buildings and with brute force broke window panes, caused extensive damage to furniture and records of courts including electronic equipment, LCD television sets and computers, the registry, the offices of the personal assistants of the Judges, the Associations inside the campus like the Madras High Court Advocates Association and the Law Association, the libraries and even the offices of the Government Pleaders and Prosecutors, Advocates chambers and vehicles parked in the campus. Close to 200 cars and two wheelers were damaged.

    • Advocates, litigants, court staff, judges, children in the day care centre near the Family courts and general public were trapped in various court buildings.

    • 5.30 pm – The B4 police out post located at the southern end of the campus after the Family Court building caught fire. At that point of time, the entire campus was under a siege by the police. Judges , advocates, staff and litigants including those injured were trapped inside the court halls and chambers. Many had fled the campus . The police station had already been cordoned off by the armed police. The claim of the police that the advocates set fire is false.
    • The riot police reached the door step of the chambers of the Hon’ble Acting Chief Justice, where the full court had taken refuge. The registrar General and other senior court staff and some advocates were present inside the chambers. The riot police lathi charged the advocates who were assembled outside the chamber waiting anxiously for judicial response and protection.
    • Justice Sudanthiram rushed out of the chamber of the Acting Chief Justice on hearing the commotion but had to beat a hasty retreat as he too was attacked.
    • The riot police started banging the doors of the chambers of the Acting Chief Justice.
    • 6.00 pm – Some of the injured persons managed to leave the court premises escorted by advocates through the northern gate facing Thambu Chetty street on NSC Bose Road as it was the only gate open.

    • 6.30 pm – The Police chased the advocates leaving the campus into the adjoining streets including Esplanade Road, NSC Bose Road, Armenian Street, Thambu Chetty Street, Linghi Chetty Street, Sunkurama Chetty Street. The Police indiscriminately beat people found on these streets. They also entered shops and law offices and continued the rampage. Many people took refuge in shops and shutters were drawn. They specially targeted the offices of advocates in the said streets.

    • 7.30 pm-the DGP ,the Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary finally came to the Hon’ble Chief Justice’s chambers.

    • 6.30 – 8.00 pm – Police violence continued. Vehicles parked inside the court campus were randomly damaged and any person found was chased and beaten.

    • The entire High Court campus was under siege between 3.30 p.m. and 8.00 pm.

    • At the end of the day, nearly 150 advocates, staff and litigants were admitted to hospital with serious injuries and significantly the majority had sustained head injuries.

    • At about 8 p.m. on the basis of a written complaint given by a lawyer, the High court treating it as a PIL passed an order recording the incidents and directed that the investigation be handed over to the CBI. It also constituted three committees to assess the damage to the high court and other courts.
    • 20.02.09- The High Court could not function thereafter as court property was extensively damaged. Furniture, electronic equipment and glass pieces were found strewn everywhere. Advocates who had assembled in the premises for a peaceful demonstration were threatened by the police. Late in the evening, shoot at sight orders for damage to public property was ordered and a handful of protesters were trapped inside the campus.

    • At about 11.40 pm, a few advocates had to enter the court with the permission of the Acting Chief Justice to escort these protesters out of the campus.

    • 21.02.2009 – The High Court wore a deserted look and all the entrances have been locked. At every entrance, 40 to 50 policemen have been posted. Many shops on the adjoining streets were closed. The same situation continues even today.
    • The High Court issued an official statement that it did not authorize police entry on 19.02.09.
    • The High Court passed judicial orders calling for a report from the police commissioner to take a decision on initiating criminal contempt proceedings against the state officials. It also held the state accountable for the damage caused.

    While this is the state of affairs attempts are being made to project the violence of the police as a clash between them and the advocates. There is extensive video footage of the assault, despite which the state government has not even suspended the police commissioner and the joint commissioner who was in charge of the operation.

    We bring to your notice that 35 senior advocates of the Madras High Court have passed a resolution condemning the atrocities committed by the police and the brutal and indiscriminate assault on judges, advocates, staff, general public and the damage caused to property.

    Unfortunately the police is generating false rumours by the day as if the advocates pose a threat to the safety of the courts, based on which shoot at sight orders have been issued to be enforced in and around the courts in the state.

    Representations by advocates to restore normalcy have gone in vain. It is ironical that while the judiciary was outrageously attacked by the police , it has reposed faith in the same force to guard its property in preference to the advocates who protected the judges and suffered grievous injuries in the process.

    The prominence given to the “shoot at sight” orders, simultaneous with the closure of courts with the physical presence of large contingents of armed police around courts all over the state gives the most disturbing appearance as if the state judiciary is under siege by the police and the judges have no control over the administration of justice. This sends a dangerous message to the

    general public completely shaking their faith in the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.

    Today members of the judiciary, court staff , advocates and litigants feel unsafe to enter courts with police present in such large numbers. It is imperative
    to completely remove the police from the courts in Tamil Nadu for the judicial system to start functioning freely without any fear.

    The legal community including the judiciary in Tamil Nadu look up to you in this hour of crisis. The Hon’ble Supreme court should suo motu order judicial enquiry by a panel of sitting high court judges since it is the judiciary that has been attacked and made dysfunctional Courts in the high court premises cannot function unless extensive repairs are effected.

    We urge you to visit the High Court and make effective interventions to restore people’s faith in the majesty of justice including that of subordinate judicial officers, ministerial staff and that of the legal community.

  2. Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer’s statement

    At First the lawyers were to blame for assaulting Dr. Subramaniam Swamy. Then the police came berserk and in rapid excess of violence. I just received a long communication from Chennai about the horrendous terror and horror where the uniformed police force turned barbarian and beat up every black robed lawyer they came across and in the rumpus and riotous situation. A few robed brethren administering justice were also victims of lathy generosity. Around 150 lawyers have stated to have been hospitalized with injuries. As the police station incendiarised inside the court premises with riot police everywhere and justices seeking refuge inside the Chief Justice’s Chambers. This is a scenery the like of which no eye had seen, no heart conceived, no human tongue can adequately tell. The police managed the press and put out a version making the lawyers the villain. Poisonous when pitted against the police the lawyer’s version went by default and even the judges proved powerless. The highest institution of justice in the State stands scandalize and stultified and the forensic process was panalised with the Constitution made a paper tiger. The judges with their rich power cipherized and the administration of justice in the State humiliated by police raj with none to police the police. This grave collapse of the rule of law is a national catastrophe of people’s sovereignty. What we need now is not orders and lectures, articles and arguments but withdraw the police, the last of them from the High Court premises and the compound, suspend the Commissioner of Police and the DGP or else all the judges of the Court en-mass resign until the judiciary is restored to its power and dignity and the High Court truly hallowed and absolute peace restored. A high-powered Commission with full power of investigation shall come into existence in a week’s time with full power to recommend transitory transfers and interim punitive orders with natural justice observed. An emergency in Chennai shall at once be promulgated with the plenary power of the State administration vested in a group of the senior most high judges of the supreme Court—an extraordinary measure which the Central Cabinet must immediately act otherwise the cause of justice which is fundamental to fundamental rights is made a cadaver and Indian Independence annihilated internally by a Khaki domination a law unto itself. This shall not be. When the nation is in crisis political difference is allergic unless the President acts now. Swaraj becomes mirage and democracy a simulacrum of independence.

  3. A representation by the senior lawyers of the Madras High Court

    The Chief Justice of India

    Supreme Court,

    New Delhi.


    The ugly incidents that took place on the afternoon of the 19th day of February, 2009 within the precincts of the Chartered High Court of Madras have left scores bleeding and thousands embittered. There seems to be an attempt to project advocates as the chief cause and perpetrators of the violence that was unleashed inside the premises. In this context, it is felt that a few important issues have been overlooked in the dust and din that has been raised:

    1. A large posse of regular policemen, Swift Action Group, Riot Control Police had been gathered around the High Court premises since morning – did the police suspect anything, was anything being planned?

    2. The police are on record saying that they were prepared – see News Report by A.Selvaraj in the Times of India, Chennai Edition, 21-Fen-09, at page 2.

    3. It is alleged that a group of advocates created a commotion/uproar/disturbance over the police’s laxity in filing an FIR against Shri Subramaniam Swamy and that the police ‘action’ which ensued was the result of trying to control this group of advocates.

    4. If the police had such a large force piled up, could not this group of advocates have been contained without much difficulty – or are the police so inefficient that it is incapable of even this clinical operation?

    5. Was it necessary to run amok inside the High Court to control a group of advocates, as alleged?

    6. How then did the police let themselves inside the High Court premises on the afternoon of February 19th, after the boycott had ended? This action is indeed surprising viewed in the context of the extreme ‘restraint’ the police had shown itself to be capable of, a couple of months ago at the Madras Law College.

    7. Worse, the police have charged inside various High Court sections (Registry) – For one, the police have tried force their way into, among others, the High-Court-Judges’-Personal Assistants (P.A) – Section – this Section apparently has had a new door put up at the entrance. Terrified court staff have locked the door from inside and have had their backs to the door trying to resist the police men banging at the door from gaining entry – eye-witnesses recount how the door would open into the section about a feet, and how the staff from inside would push it back in place, only for the door to be banged at again by the police. The door would again have to be pushed back in place – what did the P.A.’s do to merit this?

    8. The High Court library was not spared either – library staff was attacked.

    9. Why was it that the police though it fit to barge into sections lathi charging and terrorizing the poor court staff? Even assuming the police have a right to charge at all advocates for the commotion created by a few, surely the Court staff are distinguishable from the advocates by their dress?

    10. Worried advocates have had to petition the Registrar General to bring the situation into control.

    11. Others, distressed advocates, had also gone to the Acting Chief Justice’s chambers requesting that the police be directed to leave the High Court premises – the ACJ had been in conference with a few judges. Top brass of the police were contacted, none could be reached!

    12. The Acting Chief Justice and a few other judges had then set out to control the scene and to take stock of the situation so as to ensure no further harm to men and property. The Judges were then taken to one of the sections viz. Current Section to avoid any untoward incident. However this precaution failed as one of the Hon’ble Judges was injured.

    13. A charge is made that the B4 Police Station inside the High Court premises was set ablaze by the advocates. Footage shown on T.V. shows the police station, without any damage to it, surrounded by a couple of hundred policemen including the Swift Action Group/Riot Control Police – how then did advocates get access to the police station. Who burned the Police Station down?

    14. Police have charged indiscriminately at all advocates – photos abound of police beating up innocent advocates huddled into a corner, of thrashing people who were pleading with hands folded…

    15. There is ample footage of advocates’ cars and motor bikes being smashed by the policemen. Why? If there was such an emergent need for the police to charge to contain the ‘attacking advocates’ why was it deemed fit to stop mid way, turn their fury at the vehicles and proceed?

    16. And, what of police men throwing stones on people at Court corridors?

    17. The police started beating up women advocates and using abusive language without any provocation. This treatment was also meted out to innocent litigants who were unfortunate enough to be in the campus on the ill-fated day. Surely a case of “protectors” turning “aggressors”.

    18. If a large group of advocates gathered and retaliated by throwing stones, can they be accused of throwing stones without grave and sudden provocation?

    19. If a group of advocates were the first to resort to throwing stones, why were tear gas shells/water cannons not used to contain them? In any case, what was the need to attack, get inside the offices of the Registry and beat up Court staff?

    20. The police have also gone inside the chambers of the Acting Chief Justice and terrorized the Acting Chief Justice’s staff.

    21. Mr.Justice A.C.Arumuga Perumal Adityan was wounded in the police ‘action’ with a lathi and had to be protected by a group of advocates who got badly injured and had to be rushed to the hospital along with the Hon’ble Judge.

    22. At least two exits from the High Court have been locked preventing advocates, court staff and others from going outside – is a reference to Jalianwala Bagh inappropriate?

    23. Not satisfied with all the above, the police have chased advocates even outside the High Court premises, in and around NSC Bose Road.

    A very sad day for the Indian judiciary; a judiciary required to be independent of executive interference. While there may be two opinions on whether the preceding boycott was justified or not, the brutal attack on the institution had nothing to do with this. It is a fact that the Madras High Court was ransacked and vandalized by the police who could not be controlled by even the Chennai City Police Commissioner.

    In the light of all the above, it is submitted that advocates have a genuine cause for anguish over this terror that has been let loose by the police. The extent of damage caused to the person and property of the officers of the Court stand testimony to the fact that the police ‘action’ was much more than disproportionate to the disturbances alleged to have been caused by a group of advocates.

    Thirty five senior Advocates, including R.Krishnamurthy, Habibullah Badsha, both former Advocate Generals of the High Court, Madras, Mr.T.R.Rajagopolan, former Additional Advocate General, Mr.N.Natarajan and Mr.R.Gandhi, Senior Advocates met on 20.02.2009 and discussed the serious situation in the High Court and passed the following resolutions:

    “ We the senior members of the Madras Bar place on record our strongest disapproval of the atrocities committed by the Police, Swift Action Group and Commandos inside the Madras High Court premises on the 19th February 2009, brutally and indiscriminately attacking innocent lawyers, Court staff and general public and damaging public property as well as vehicles parked inside the campus.

    We condemn the atrocious act of the Police in even attacking the constitutional authorities – the Hon’ble Judges of the Madras High Court, as well as the Subordinate Judiciary, this interfering with the administration of judicial system.

    We demand the prompt and severe action to be taken against the Police officers, who issued directions to the Police to take aggressive action against the lawyers and the Police who unleashed a reign of terror within the High Court campus.

    Be all these as they may, two urgent issues need to be addressed – first, finding out what was the agenda behind this indiscriminate action and secondly, and more importantly, saving the all important institution of the High Court from the clutches of the police.


    Sd/- [R.GANDHI]






    Sd/- [M.S.KRISHNAN]








    Sd/- [A.L.SOMAYAJI]

  4. Are the media moral police?
    Without knowing the real facts most of the half boiled people passing comments against the lawyers as if they deserve this treatment from the police. Most of the biased news media, quoting the public, criticizing the lawyers for their boycotts. we don’t understand who they are and in what way they can criticize lawyers. Are they affected parties?. There is some meaning if the litigant public complains about the boycott. Others have no locus standi to do that. All the news and television media have their own agenda in the issue for their personal gains. That’s why they are reporting in biased manner politically and other ways. They should stop advising the lawyers. We know the standard of the reporters and their biased reports. They should not think themselves as moral police. We request media’s independent investigation where police excesses have occurred. we appeal to the entire media to desist ‘from police sponsored version stories’ and on the contrary continue to undertake your own investigations, so that the truth is upheld and false police versions thwarted from public knowledge.

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