Courthouse chaos delays appearance of accused


The Saket courthouse descended into chaos long before the five men, arrested for the gangrape and torture of a 23-year-old woman who died later in a Singapore hospital, were produced before a magistrate on Monday.

Two lawyers infuriated their brethren when they volunteered to defend the accused. Some lawyers joined a crowd which had gathered there, demanding that the accused be turned over to the public. And as they packed the courtroom, foreign correspondents and beat reporters fought for every inch of space.

There was such a din that metropolitan magistrate Namrita Aggarwal had to ask mediapersons and lawyers several times to leave the room.

In the morning itself, it became evident that bringing the accused to court would be no easy task for the police. To keep out the crowds, barricades were placed near the Saket court and at least 30 personnel stood guard at the three gates of the court premises.

Another 50 police personnel were posted outside court number 207 where the five men were to be produced.

At 10.15 am, the accused were brought to court in two jail vans escorted by a police car. Amidst tight security, they were taken to the lock-up inside the court complex.

When the proceedings began, two advocates were nearly beaten up when they offered to appear as defence lawyers. A man inside the court lifted a stool and tried to hit one of the advocates but was stopped by journalists. "Yeh sab media publicity ke liye khade hona chahte hai... (they are offering to be defence counsel only for publicity)," he said.

Once she had a look at the chaotic scenes in the courtroom, the metropolitan magistrate went into her chamber and declined to conduct the proceedings till journalists and other advocates not connected to the case left the premises.

... contd.

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