THE locking up of about 100 lower courts by lawyers in the country would do more harm than good to their movement for judicial independence. It caused hassle to thousands of litigants and under-trial prisoners already affected by weekly protests. The black coats tried to lock the Lahore High Court but, when met with resistance, turned to the subordinate courts, locking them all. The scene in courts in Lahore was one of pandemonium as the litigants were harassed by the chanting lawyers. Such was the fervour among the lawyers that it forced a number of judges to voluntarily close their courtrooms. While the lawyers have every right to register their unhappiness at the government's putting the issue of judges' restoration on the backburner, their struggle ought to be in accordance with the traditions of democracy. They are an enlightened section of society, and one expects they would not do anything that is against the law that they are to keep. It is highly objectionable to stop the litigants and judges from appearing in courts and preventing the courts from hearing the cases. Though many of the senior lawyers have condemned the highhanded behaviour, the need is to advocate caution and restraint among the rank and file. There is no doubt that the legal activists have so far done a great job by highlighting the need for the rule of law in the country. However, by resorting to measures like the one witnessed on Tuesday, they would only be tarnishing their image in society. One hopes the lawyers will abide by rules and regulations. Democracy allows protests, but stopping people from performing their duties with physical force is unheard of. Anybody boycotting the courts is welcome, but so should be those who want to attend.