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    Kerala HC expresses concern over advocates’ protest against woman magistrate

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    Kochi, Nov 24 , The Kerala High Court on Friday expressed its displeasure over the protests staged by lawyers that halted proceedings in a magistrate’s court at Kottayam.

    The incident took place on Thursday when lawyers shouted provocative slogans against Chief Judicial Magistrate Viveeja Sethumohan after an FIR was filed against a lawyer.

    Justice Devan Ramachandran questioned why the bar was selectively interfering in such “unnecessary matters”.

    “What is the bar doing? For all the unnecessary things, the bar is interfering. Yesterday I saw the issue in Kottayam. Why is the bar being selective? Where are we going? (there is) no meaning,” he observed orally.

    Acknowledging that he was uncertain about the particulars of the incident in Kottayam, Justice Ramachandran expressed concern and wondered how such incidents would affect the public perception of the legal community.

    “This is not because I am sad. I am just here for a few more years. There is a generation coming up. Nothing can be done to me. I was worried, very worried when I saw the Kottayam incident. I am not sure who is right, or who is wrong. What will the citizens think when they see all these actions?” he added.

    These observations were made when the Court was considering a plea moved by a lawyer seeking initiation of contempt of court proceedings against another lawyer, advocate Sangeetha Lakshmana, for some posts she put up on Facebook criticising Justice Ramachandran.

    The judge said that he was not sure that the plea would be maintainable and explained that he had issued notice to the respondents only to be fair.

    “The third respondent (Lakshmana) being a counsel can always criticise. From the time I joined, I have heard senior advocates criticising senior advocates but in a beautiful way. There is a system unlike simply posting on Facebook. What do they expect; that judges should be transferred because of that? Who said we don’t like being transferred? It is not just one person, it has been constantly happening. Ask the association, if it is an association or it just (delivers) speeches. Just because advocates attack judges, we don’t do that to advocates. We don’t stoop so low,” he said.

    sg/vd

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