Advocates can take action against litigants who harass them over queries posed by courts: Madras High Court

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The Madras High Court on Monday said that advocates can take appropriate legal action against litigants who harass them over queries posed by a court during a hearing.

A Bench of Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice PD Audikesavalu made the observation after a lawyer representing a final year law student in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) told the Court that he did not wish to represent the petitioner in the case as he was being harassed by him.

The law student had filed the PIL seeking a direction to the State government to set up old age homes in every district in Tamil Nadu in accordance with provisions of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act.

On the previous hearing on July 24, the petitioner’s counsel had claimed that not even a single old age home had been established by the State government.

While the Court had recorded such statement, it had said at the time that it would impose costs of ₹50,000 on the petitioner if the statement was found to be incorrect.

On Monday, the lawyer told the Court that following its remark on imposing heavy costs, the petitioner had been harassing him. He thus sought permission to withdraw from the matter.

While the Court allowed him to do so, it added that any query posed by a court during a hearing was just a query, and not the court’s order. It further said that any lawyer who was being harassed by a litigant had the option of taking necessary action against such litigant.

The Court added that the lawyer in the present case too could take appropriate action against the petitioner if he wished to.

“The petitioner is also present here and seeks time to engage another lawyer. While we grant him time, this Court feels it necessary to reiterate that any queries posed by us are for the benefit of the litigants and queries do not indicate our order. Also, any advocate, who is harassed by a litigant following the court’s queries, or even otherwise, is entitled to take appropriate action against the litigant,” the Court said.

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