Despite the Chief Justice expressing objections to the lawyers’ stand on Tuesday, the Calcutta High Court Bar Association went ahead with its decision to cease work on Wednesday, the first day of the association’s planned three-day extension of the summer holidays.
The high court had reopened on June 1 after a fortnight-long summer break.
Lawyers stayed away from court proceedings, citing “hot and humid conditions”, a decision that Chief Justice Manjula Chellur had criticised on Tuesday when the association had submitted the resolution to a division bench of the Chief Justice and Justice Joymalya Bagchi.
CJ Chellur had said that “a section of lawyers are behaving like schoolchildren” and had insisted that the lawyers follow the Supreme Court’s guidelines on holidays.
Voicing unhappiness with the lawyers’ decision not to attend court from Wednesday till Friday owing to hot weather conditions, Chief Justice Chellur and Justice Bagchi said that if people in other professions such as police sergeants, nurses and lawyers in lower courts can work, it should not be so difficult for the lawyers in High Court.
She said the lawyers’ decision was “irritating and painful”.
When some lawyers reasoned that the rooms were locked and they could not get their coats and gowns, the CJ said if a lawyer wanted, he could appear before the court in white shirt and trousers.
It is learnt that the Chief Justice has left for her hometown, Bengaluru.
Owing to the casework, several important hearings such as the anticipatory bail plea of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders could not be taken up even as other litigants were seen moving around helplessly on the court premises. This, when all the court rooms were open with the judges in their seats but the absence of lawyers led to cases not being taken up for hearing.
The High Court Bar Association had Tuesday taken out a majority resolution not to attend court from June 10 to June 13 owing to excessive heat and humidity. The CJ had asked the lawyers to attend court in the interest of litigants but the advocates stuck to their decision.
“We have not forced the decision. Due to the heat, many of the members have fallen sick. We will try to continue from June 15 onwards when the situation improves,” said a senior Bar Association member.
The association’s secretary, Rana Mukherjee, was not available for comment.