DISORDER…DISORDER

Vadodara: Sofas thrown from the first floor, glass tables shattered, broken furniture scattered all around and sloganeering with choicest of expletives; this was the scene of unbridled pandemonium that marked the first functioning day of the new court complex at Diwalipura on Monday as the ongoing row over lack of adequate seating arrangements for lawyers took an ugly turn.
The build-up to the uproar began on Sunday evening when some lawyers had placed their tables outside the court. At 10am on Monday, tension brewed as soon as few lawyers tried to enter the court complex with their furniture but were stopped at the gates by the police. In the commotion and altercation, some tables were also broken. The pandemonium continued for five hours.

Later, several groups of lawyers thronged into the chamber of the district judge and created a ruckus there. A couple of senior lawyers, district judge and other senior judges along with court registrar tried to pacify the agitating lawyers but they refused to listen to them and leave the chamber. Soon police officials reached there with more police force.

Until this moment, the lawyers, who were creating ruckus over seating arrangement, objected to presence of police force in the court premises. Amid frayed tempers, a police sub-inspector and two police constables allegedly blurted something against the lawyers, which angered them even more. The lawyers later alleged that the three policemen even resorted to lathicharge.

The advocates then started damaging furniture inside the chamber of district judge and in the waiting room outside the chamber. Glasses of centre tables and windows were broken. Couches and centre table in the waiting room were brought out and thrown from the first floor. Besides the furniture, fire extinguishers and doors of the district court room were detached and thrown away.

After the police pushed the lawyers out of the district judge’s chamber, they started shouting slogans against the judge and police. The number of lawyers only kept swelling outside the office of the district judge but later all of them gathered outside the annexe building to chalk out next plan of action.

Meanwhile, some lawyers gheraoed Bar Baroda Association’s president Nalin Patel over the same issue following which he too went to meet the district judge along with senior advocates.

The situation was brought under control only after a short meeting between the lawyers and senior police officials in the afternoon. However, the lawyers will continue with their strike even on Tuesday.

Senior advocate Shailesh Patel, said, “The government says it has spent Rs 130 crore to construct the new building. But without proper seating arrangement, where can lawyers discuss their cases with clients under privacy.

“Whatever happened was not between police and lawyers. They tried to attack district judge therefore the police was called in. Lawyers were using abusive language and they even tried to jostle lady police officer because of which we had to intervene. Whatever action, including registering FIR, we have taken is on the basis of the instructions of the Gujarat high court,” said commissioner of police Manoj Sashidhar

Police registered an FIR against 11 lawyers and a mob of 150 to 200 on the basis of complaint given by district court registrar Prakash Trivedi late in the evening.

Police have booked Rashid Vohra, Nehal Sutrariya, Acharya, Bhaisaheb, Deval Bhatt, B S Nilak, Nimisha Dhotre, Rajesh Dhobi, Ritesh Thakkar, Deepesh Sharma, Macwan and the mob for rioting, causing hurt to public servant, obstructing public servant from discharging his functions, assault, uttering obscene words in public, criminal conspiracy and under sections of Damage to Public Property Act.

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