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MHC should not return to its old indisciplined ways

Justice R K Agrawal and Justice S K Kaul who headed the Madras High Court as Chief Justices in recent years were aghast at the indiscipline of the lawyers and attempted needed corrections. The tenure of Justice Agrawal was short before he was elevated to the Supreme Court. Justice Kaul took bold to put a stop to the rank indiscipline, politicisation and unruly behaviour of sections of lawyers and even one of his co-judges. He succeeded not merely in disposing of a large number of cases pending for long but, importantly, in putting an end to the almost anarchic conditions perpetrated by a highly politicised lawyer fraternity. Among the most notable of his contributions was tightening the security system by entrusting the task to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and his framing rules to proceed against unruly lawyers and punish them. There were also welcome efforts to de-politicise the judicial appointments of the government, setting up norms for the selection of judicial officers.

Quite disappointingly, this good work done was sought to be undone after Justice Kaul shifted to the Supreme Court. The first bench headed by the acting Chief Justice commented favourably over the submission of R C Paul Kanagaraj, a former President of the Madras High Court Advocates Association, to revert to the old system of entrusting high court security to the state police. Times of India reports that an overwhelming majority of high court judges have submitted a memorandum to the acting Chief Justice not to dilute the security arrangements involving CISF. This needs attention.

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