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Protesting lawyers hasten CJ Shah’s departure to Mumbai

Amid high tension at the Calcutta High Court over a lawyers’ protest that was on since Thursday night,Chief Justice Mohit S Shah was transferred to the Bombay High Court late on Friday evening.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata |
June 26, 2010 3:09:18 am

Amid high tension at the Calcutta High Court over a lawyers’ protest that was on since Thursday night,Chief Justice Mohit S Shah was transferred to the Bombay High Court late on Friday evening.

A letter from the Supreme Court on the transfer reached Kolkata and Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharjee will take charge as the Acting Chief Justice from Monday.

Sources,however,added that Chief Justice Shah’s transfer has been in the pipeline for a month now,and the protest by lawyers has only hastened it.

Trouble began at the court late on Thursday evening when around two dozen lawyers protested against the allotment of a courtroom to Assistant Court Officer (ACO).

They contended that they need more space and refused to leave court room 20,which had been renovated for the ACO.

On the advice of Chief Justice Shah,Registrar General M Srivastav then called in the police. By 11.30 pm,the police managed to evict the lawyers.

But irked by the decision to bring the police inside court,the Bar Association demanded unconditional apology from the Chief Justice,registrar general and Kolkata Police Commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakraborty,who himself had come to the court and met Chief Justice Shah. The West Bengal Bar Council also called a day-long ceasework at all courts in the state.

As the day progressed with hundreds of lawyers carrying on protests inside the High Court premises,the court officials alleged that a group had vandalised the court room of Chief Justice.

“Some lawyers came in and vandalised the court room,breaking the glass panes of the door and ransacking furniture,” an official said.

This was,however,denied by senior counsel Subroto Mukhopadhyay,who said the pane had come off the hinges by itself and it had nothing to do with the protest.

By the evening,when the news of the transfer of the Chief Justice came,the advocates changed their demand from unconditional apology to removal of the Chief Justice and the registrar general.

Sukhendu Sekhar Roy,vice-president of the Bar Association,said the advocates will go on an indefinite boycott of the courts from Monday unless the Chief Justice and the registrar general were removed.

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