[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Madras High Court on Friday called upon the court’s Security Commission to review security arrangements at its premises following a peace march to commemorate Martyr’s Day on Thursday, carried out by lawyers and three former Justices of the Madras High Court.The High Court observed, “a very recent unfortunate incident has been reported by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, High Court Security, in a letter dated 30.01.2020 addressed to the Registrar General that has been placed before us”.
Deputy Commissioner of Police informed the High Court:
“On 30.01.2010 at 10.30 a.m. has a group of advocates including seniors namely, Tmt.Vaigai, Tmt.Sudha, Tmt.Subha, Tr.Girirajan, Tr.Milton, Tr.Bharathi, Tr.Parivendhar, Tr.Patharsaith etc and Retired High Court Judges Tr.Haribaranthaman, Tr.Kannan & Tr.Akbar were assembled near Aavin parlor walked in procession to North Gate via Kuralagam, reached B2 Esplanede Gate entered inside and finished at Dr.Ambedkar Statute.
“They were stopped and advised for their unauthorized activities. But they refused to hear the Police Officers who were on duty. The report of the Inspector of Police, High Court Security is enclosed for perusal. The video CD & Photos (CD) are also enclosed.”
The High Court, thus, noted “what is of more concern is that the incident involves and names three former High Court Judges of having entered the premises and joined the protest that was going on.
It went on to say “the gravity of the said incident, therefore, puts on guard the entire judicial system, as this may have a large impact on the future security measures that may be required to be undertaken by the High Court”.
According to the High Court, “the incident, therefore, requires an immediate concern to be taken up on the administrative side and we, therefore, request the Security Committee of the High Court to take up the matter urgently along with its suggestions and report the matter back for taking appropriate action on the judicial side or otherwise by the next date fixed”.
“Keeping in view the aforesaid concerns that have been expressed and also the incident reported and extracted hereinabove, we also request the Security Committee to deliberate upon these issues and also coordinate with the Director General of Police, State of Tamil Nadu as well as the high-ranking officials of the Central Industrial Security Force, including local Commandant, for evolving concrete suggestions in order to crystallise the security arrangements preferably on a permanent basis. The exercise may, therefore, be undertaken at the earliest”, said the High Court.
Reacting to the High Court’s order, a group of senior advocates and advocates of the Madras High Court issued a press statement which said “it is a sad reflection on the State of our democracy that a peaceful “Padayatra” to commemorate the Father of Our Nation on “Martyrs Day” has been portrayed by the police as an “unauthorized activity” by lawyers and retired judges inside the High Court”. They added, “to describe a peaceful Padayatra to honour Gandhiji is as an unlawful protest is an insult to Mahatma”.
“The participants did not go anywhere near the HC building nor was there any disruption of functioning of any court”, said a group of lawyers.
“People look to the Courts as the last bastion of defenders of Constitution. It is highly condemnable for police now to cast a cloud over a non-partisan and solemn padayatra taken to remember Mahathma and to reiterate his enduring message of peace and harmony”, read the press release.