Lawyers boycott judge after he rules attorney ‘insane’


Chandigarh : Agitated lawyers of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Tuesday decided to boycott Justice Uma Nath Singh, demanding that all judicial work be withdrawn from the judge, he be moved out and impeachment proceedings be initiated against him.

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Judge Singh had Monday evening declared local lawyer Tahar Singh "insane" and ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take him to a mental hospital in Agra.

Tahar, who had in recent months taken up cudgels in the high court against the conduct of certain judges, was picked up by the CBI a couple of hours later Monday evening.

Agitated lawyers of the high court's bar association led a vociferous demonstration in front of the CBI office here, forcing high court Chief Justice Vijendra Kumar Jain to Monday constitute a late night division bench comprising Justices M.M. Kumar and Surya Kant to stay Justice Singh's order.

The CBI team taking the lawyer to the mental hospital in Agra was recalled from Delhi by the high court.

"We will continue to boycott Justice Uma Nath Singh's court till action is taken against him. His order Monday was beyond the jurisdiction of the court," senior advocate Anupam Gupta said Tuesday.

Protesting lawyers went on a sit-in outside the high court Tuesday demanding action against the judge.

Bar association president Anmol Rattan Sidhu and Chandigarh's government standing counsel Anupam Gupta said the high court action in sending the lawyer to a mental hospital was unwarranted and unprovoked.

Tahar had recently also been booked by the local police after his wife accused him of cruelty and criminal intimidation. But after the high court order sending him to the mental hospital, his wife Sujata Sharma changed her tone to claim that she had never said that he was insane.

Judge Singh in his order said: "In view of the serious nature of allegations regarding beatings and torture of the complainant (the lawyer's wife) and her children by the accused in a barbaric manner which only an insane person would do and further that on enquiry, the court is prima facie of the opinion, that accused is a worst case of mental disorder.

"It is also learnt from the bar that the accused creates nuisance and commotion wherever he goes with the help of anti-social elements on the strength of some vested interests who finance him in doing so.

"In this background, to ensure the safety of the life of the complainant and her children, I deem it expedient to direct the senior superintendent of police of the CBI, Chandigarh to immediately take the accused in custody and take him away from Chandigarh to the mental hospital in Agra, for proper treatment."

The judge also directed the CBI to use "modern devices" to investigate the link between Tahar Singh and anti-social elements who were "misusing him during his spell of insanity".