BANGALORE: The Karnataka State Bar Council Sunday directed all lawyers across the state to stay away from the courts Monday in protest against the police "excess" on some of its members Friday when some advocates attacked mediapersons and policemen at the city civil court complex here.
"As a mark of protest against police excess on a section of lawyers at the city civil court complex and blaming the entire community for the violent incident Friday, our members will boycott courts across the state Monday," council president K.N. Subba Reddy told reporters Sunday.
At an emergent meeting of the council held to discuss the arrest of four advocates late Saturday for their suspected involvement in the incident and chalk out its plan to counter the vilification campaign against its members by media, political parties and civil society, Reddy said the state Director General of Police Shankar Bidari and city Police Commissioner Jyotiprakash Mirji were responsible for the excess committed by their force after failing to control the situation.
"We appeal to the state government to shift both Bidari and Mirji from their posts as they both are responsible for the unfortunate incidents and allowing the situation to go out of control," Reddy demanded.
Conceding that some lawyers assaulted media persons in the court premises when they were covering the appearance of tainted former state minister G. Janardhana Reddy in the mining scam, the council president also said no member of the bar would take up cases of media houses for carrying a distorted version of the events and belittling the legal fraternity in the eyes of society.
"In future, media houses will not get our support in representing their cases in courts as we have been treated as hooligans, criminal and rowdy elements. It is true that some of our members took law into their hands and attacked media persons and police on provocation or spur of the moment. Even our members were beaten up, but neither the media reported nor police admitted it," Subba Reddy said.
Accusing the media of distorting facts and repeatedly playing up the attack on their persons ignoring the police excess on several lawyers, including caning and damaging their vehicles, Reddy said the council had visual evidence of the entire incident, which was captured on a video camera by one of the bar members.
"We are ready to cooperate with the police and media to identify the real culprits as those who indulged in violent attacks were not all lawyers but anti-social elements who intruded into the court premises by wearing black robes and white ties," Reddy claimed.
A special team of the city police late Saturday arrested Advocates Association of Bangalore general secretary A.P. Ranganath and three other lawyers (Somash, Ashok Nayak and Santosh) for their suspected role in the violent attack. The four were sent to judicial custody till March 16.
"We have to verify if the vandals in black robes were indeed advocates or miscreants who infiltrated into the court complex. We have information that some unidentified people purchased about 100 black jackets from our Advocates' Society in the complex recently. As majority of lawyers are professional and law abiding, we are to restore public confidence in us," Reddy claimed.
Meanwhile, opposition Congress demanded a judicial probe by a sitting judge into the attack on media persons by a section of lawyers.