The Karnataka High Court has taken a significant step by constituting a High-Level Committee aimed at fostering a harmonious relationship between stakeholders in the Administration of Justice and the Law & Order Agency of the State. This action follows the investigation into the unfortunate assault on an advocate by police officials in Chikkamagalurudistrict.

Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale and Justice Krishna S Dixit, presiding over a Division Bench, directed the formation of this committee in response to a representation made by the Advocates’ Association of Bengaluru. The bench emphasized the necessity to take proactive measures beyond the ongoing CID investigation into the incident. They stressed the importance of convening all stakeholders to discuss the matter and restore goodwill among the legal fraternity, the police, and the district administration.

The newly established  High-Level Committee comprises noteworthy personalities such as the Advocate General for the State of Karnataka, Mr. Shashikiran Shetty; the Principal Secretary of the Department of Home, Government of Karnataka; and the Director-General & Inspector General of Police, among others. These members are tasked with convening at the Office of the Advocate General for the State of Karnataka, Bengaluru, on December 9, 2023, to deliberate on the issue and propose recommendations to prevent any future conflicts between the concerned parties.

Earlier discussions during the court proceedings highlighted the distress among senior advocates regarding a section of the police staff in Chikkamagaluru going on strike and the circulation of videographs/photographs depicting this action in the public domain. The bench expressed its strong disapproval, emphasizing the importance of discipline within the police force and deeming such actions as unacceptable to civil society and the judiciary.

Advocate General K Shashi Kiran Shetty assured the court that the matter was under serious consideration by higher authorities in the department. Additionally, the investigation into the five registered crimes by Chikkamagaluru Town Police Station was entrusted to the CID, Bengaluru. This independent inquiry will be monitored by a nominated Deputy Inspector General of Police, under the supervision of the Director-General & Inspector General of Police.

Acknowledging this decision, the court lauded the move, stating that it would significantly enhance the confidence of the aggrieved parties in the State’s actions. However, the court exercised restraint in immediately arresting the officials involved, citing that such actions fall under the purview of the investigating agency, as outlined in a precedent set by the Supreme Court.

Furthermore, the court appreciated the gesture of the agitating Members of the Bar to resume their court work, aligning with the apex court’s observations in similar circumstances.In closing remarks, the court directed that the Committee’s proceedings be shared in a sealed cover during the next hearing on December 12, adjourning the PIL petition for further review.

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