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Friday, July 1, 2016

Mr K Chandrasekhar Rao to protest on issue of High Court of Hyderabad

A few decades ago, entering Court as a litigant was considered disgraceful. We have read about the recent agitations by lawyers  and resultant enforced conditions in Madras High Court ~ peculiarly, the Court itself is becoming the broiling legal tangle instead of people going to Court on an issue.

Two years after he secured the state of Telangana after a 13-year-long struggle, Mr K Chandrasekhar Rao is turning a protester once again. The CM of Telangana now plans to do an Arvind Kejriwal by sitting on a dharna in the country's capital, to protest against the delay in bifurcation of the High court of Hyderabad. After the division of Andhra Pradesh, the High court of Andhra Pradesh was rechristened as High court of Hyderabad and it serves as the top judicial body for both Telugu states.

Since 6th  June, barring the High court, all courts in Telangana are on strike. The judges of the new state are upset that posts in Telangana are being filled with judicial officers from Andhra Pradesh. Voices of `Andhra judges, go back' are being heard all over again. In one instance, effigies of Andhra judges were burnt at a court complex in Nizamabad. Two lawyers have attempted suicide in the last two days, bringing back memories of the emotionally charged up Telangana agitation. Not many imagined that Judiciary would become the battleground, but it did as the release of list of provisional allotment of judges to lower courts in both states.    That threw the courts into turmoil.

Agitated lawyers asked -  "Is this why we fought for a separate Telangana state?" The dictum that "Telangana is for Telanganites" where those from Andhra should not get a piece of the cake' is once again gaining ground, surprisingly in the judiciary. The AP Reorganisation Act provides for a separate court for Telangana but work on it has been extremely tardy. On Sunday, Hyderabad saw something that had not happened ever before. About 130 `Honourable' judges - district and civil judges from all ten districts of Telangana - hit the roads, marching up to Raj Bhavan, to submit a memorandum to the Governor. On display was Judiciary vs Judiciary, with the presiding officers of the lower courts calling the High court "untrustworthy", claiming they have lost trust in the higher judiciary to deliver unbiased justice. They threatened to resign en masse, protesting against what they called "stepmotherly treatment".

Adding to the sordid tale of woes, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti has come out in support, realising the mood in the legal fraternity and gauging the political benefits in riding on this issue.  Every party is blaming the other for the mess !

That takes to the moot Q – can an elected State Govt and its executive head protest against the Central Govt; is there point in writing letters on burning issues and making them public – does that really solve any problem or a simple gimmick to let know the masses, that they try, but nothing is happening !

The man immediately remembered is Arvind Kejriwal for the protests that he orchestrates.  Protests erupted in Karnataka, supported by State Government  after the Central Government endorsed a gazette notification of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal's (CWDT) final award.  Way back in 1988,  Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao decided to upstage the four-month-long agitation of the Rayalaseema Joint Action Committee. On November 1, the 33rd  birthday of the state, Rama Rao took the protestors by surprise when he joined them at 11.20 a.m. in blocking entry to the state secretariat - by lying flat on the road.

In West Bengal, Bejoy Kumar Banerjee Hall did that in 1967 – with  no party having won a clear majority in the assembly election,  Ajoy Kumar Mukherjee, leader of a group of Congress defectors, joined hands with the Marxists to form the United Front. It was at this point that Speaker Bejoy Kumar Banerjee entered the picture. The Speaker refused to recognise the new regime, ruling it was the exclusive power of the House to make and unmake ministries. In 2008, Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and his  ministers staged a dharna before Parliament amidst criticism from the Opposition Congress that the CPI(M) was using public money to stage "political stunts in the capital."

Tamil Nadu is no stranger to protesting chief ministers. It has had three who resorted to public protest while in the hot seat.  Mr M.G. Ramachandran, Ms J  Jayalalithaa & Mr M  Karunanidhi have all sat on hunger strike as chief ministers, although for different reasons. In 1982, MGR abruptly announced in the Assembly that he would fast for a day to protest the Indira Gandhi regime’s refusal to allocate more rice to his state from the central pool.  In 1993, Jayalalithaa went on a similarly dramatic fast at the MGR samadhi,  demanding that Centre  should appoint a monitoring committee to oversee implementation of the Cauvery tribunal’s interim award of 205 TMC water by Karnataka to Tamil Nadu. Mr M Karunanidhi, at  the height of Sri Lanka’s offensive against the Tamil Tigers,  went on a fast at the Anna samadhi to demand that Delhi pressure Colombo to halt the war immediately. DMK was part of UPA-I, which was backing Lanka’s war.  As he reached the venue around 6 am, perplexed party leaders and anxious family members gathered around him. However, the fast was called off by noon,  saying that then home minister P. Chidambaram had informed him that Lanka had assured India it would cease hostilities using heavy weapons.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
29th June 2016.

NTR photo credit :

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