Panel to consider demands for HC benches: Moily

Last Updated: Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 12:13

New Delhi: Amid growing clamour for setting up High Court benches in various states, the Government has decided to form a one-man committee to look into the issue.

"We have decided to form a one-man committee to look into demands for setting up High Court benches," Law Minister M Veerappa Moily told a news agency here.

A former Chief Justice of India would be entrusted with the task and the Law Ministry would move the Union Cabinet shortly for its nod to set up the committee.

Sources said former CJI Justice AM Ahmadi is a frontrunner for the post. But Moily said no name has been decided so far. "It is too early to comment," he said.

Moily said as of now, unless the Chief Justice of the High Court agrees, the government cannot consider any request to set up a high court bench in any state.

He was referring to a Supreme Court judgement which said any decision on establishing new benches in any state has to be approved by the Chief Justice of particular High Court.

There has been a demand from several quarters to set up benches of high courts in various states so that the cases pending before the respective high courts can be heard at a
faster rate.

In the 1980s, Justice Jaswant Singh Commission was set up
to fix the yardsticks for setting up new High Court benches.

The yardsticks included population of the area and the
distance of the proposed bench from the principal bench.

Kerala has been demanding setting up a bench of the High
Court in capital Thiruvananthapuram. The state government has
insisted that the capital should have a bench as sending
officials to Kochi was a costly affair.

Similar demands have been aired by lawyers from western
Uttar Pradesh who want benches of the Allahabad High Court to
come up at Agra and Muzzaffarnagar.

Lawyers from Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court
have opposed creation of a new bench fearing loss of
clientele.

Lawyers and politicians have demanded benches of the
Rajasthan High Court in Bikaner. Similar demands have come
from Orissa for a Sambalpur bench.

"It is also necessary that the work of the High Courts is
decentralised, that is, more benches are established in all
states. If there is manifold increase in the strength of the
judges and the staff, all cannot be housed in one campus.
Therefore, establishment of new benches is necessary...." an
August, 2009 Law Commission report on judicial reforms had
said.

The report had said new benches would also help save time
of litigants who have to travel to other cities.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, May 16, 2010 - 12:13

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