HC impasse likely to continue for another week

Kolkata
5 Mar 2018

A two-week long impasse at the Calcutta High Court (HC) is likely to continue for another week at least with the Bar Library Club deciding to extend an ongoing cease work demanding appointment of judges till March 13. Two other bodies representing the lawyers, High Court Bar Association and Incorporated Law Society, which are also participating in the ongoing strike, will meet tomorrow morning to decide on the next course of action.

Bar Library Club president Jayanta Mitra said its members today decided in an emergency special general body meeting to continue the strike for another week till March 13. A week-long cease work called by the three associations from February 19 had been extended till today after there was no apparent response from the Union Law Ministry to their demands.
"Despite representation on February 26 by the office bearers of the three associations to the Union Law and Justice Minister seeking appointment so as to ameliorate the oppressive situation arising out of long standing vacancies in the post of judges of the high court, no response of any kind whatsoever has been received from the concerned authorities," Mitra said in a letter to the acting Chief Justice of the High Court.
The Bar Library president said in the letter that no discernible efforts have been made by the authorities to redress any of the grievances made and as such the Bar Library Club members unanimously decided to continue to cease work till its next meeting on March 13, when the situation will be reviewed again.
Mitra said, apart from appointment of new judges, the ministry has also not made any visible effort to elevate the present Acting Chief Justice J Bhattacharya to the post of chief justice, as recommended by the Supreme Court collegiums.

The high court has not had a permanent chief justice for the last three years except for a three-month period when Justice Girish Gupta was elevated to the post of chief justice from that of acting chief justice. Stating that there was a yawning gap between scheduled strength of 72 judges and the actual strength of only 30 sitting judges, he said the associations "are much concerned about the plight of the litigant public."
He said the sitting judges are also faced with huge work pressure owing to the paucity in the number of judges. Bar Association president Uttam Majumdar said a general body meeting will be held tomorrow morning to decide on the next course of action. The Incorporated Law Society will also hold a meeting to discuss the issue and take a decision. (PTI)