Senior Counsel Sriram Panchu has moved the Madras High Court over the withdrawal of police security provided to him since the Supreme Court appointed him as one of the mediators to try to resolve the Ayodhya title issue in 2019. Until recently, he was protected under the Z security level.
Senior Advocate S Prabakaran, representing Mr. Panchu, argued before Justice N. Sathish Kumar yesterday that the withdrawal of protection was made without taking into account any of the recent happenings in the country.
In view of the current Gyanvapi case and the Krishna Janmabhoomi issue, he emphasised that the State should continue to safeguard Mr. Panchu, who was facing serious threats to his life. He further stated that he had made two representations to the relevant authorities in this regard, but that no action had been taken as of yet.
Mr. Panchu had been a member of the Bar for more than four decades, according to senior counsel S. Prabakaran, and he was instrumental in the establishment of the Tamil Nadu Mediation and Conciliation Centre, which is annexed to the Madras High Court and is dedicated to resolving legal disputes through dialogue.
Mr. Prabakaran also urged the court to hold the sessions in camera so that he could properly disclose such data to the court, noting that it was “absolutely necessary” to maintain his protection due to various unsavoury situations.
Given the gravity of the situation, the Court ordered the respondents to file a counter and set a hearing date for June 16, 2022.
Sriram Panchu, a senior counsel who was appointed by the Supreme Court to a commission to investigate negotiations in the complex Ayodhya dispute, made his mark as a mediator in India in the 1990s and worked tirelessly to promote mediation as an efficient dispute resolution technique.
Panchu, who graduated from Bombay’s Elphinstone College with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1973, went on to study law at Government Law College in the same city and became an advocate in 1976.
His expertise is being put to use in the Supreme Court-ordered mediation between Assam and Nagaland over a 50-year-old boundary dispute. In 1996, he was named a senior advocate, and he is a founding member and vice-president of the Association of Indian Mediators, where he has trained over 500 mediators.
Case Title: Sriram Panchu vs The State and Others