Waiting room for women lawyers sealed in Udhagamandalam

A waiting room for women lawyers that was inaugurated recently at the newly opened Combined Court Complex near Kakkathope here was sealed on the orders of the District Judge-cum-Chief Judicial Magistrate, the Nilgiris, provoking protests from lawyers on Thursday.

The lawyers said the waiting room had been inaugurated recently by Justice V.M. Velumani and Justice J. Sathya Narayana Prasad, judges from the Madras High Court and and portfolio judges of the Nilgiris district. However, on Thursday morning, on the orders of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, the room was sealed.

As per the notice pasted on the entrance, it was mentioned that “As per the direction of the Official Memorandum of the Honorable High Court of Madras…dated 21.02.2023, the possession of the 942 square feet in Block No. IV in first floor of Combined Court Building, which is earmarked for central record room, has been restored.

Women lawyers said the sealing of the waiting room meant they had no place to even have a meal, while the restroom for women lawyers was also inaccessible as the room was sealed. They also accused the judge of passing offensive remarks against women lawyers and registered an online complaint with the Nilgiris district Superintendent of Police.

The lawyers had been at loggerheads with judges over the opening of the Combined Court Complex in Kakkathope, alleging that the complex lacked basic amenities, including water connections, internet services and lawyers’ chambers. They had also approached the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court a few weeks ago urging the judge to make sure that the amenities were made available at the court.

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