Agra: Lawyers in the five districts of Agra division have decided to intensify their agitation for an Allahabad High Court bench in this city. And this will include a siege to the Taj Mahal.
Agra shutdown will be observed Jan 16, followed by a `gherao` of the Taj Jan 21. Lawyers in Mathura, Firozabad, Aligarh, Hathras, Etah, Mainpuri and other nearby areas have assured support for the movement even as Uttar Pradesh prepares for the five-phase assembly polls beginning Feb 4.
"The idea is to pressure the candidates of various political parties to include in their agendas the campaign for a high court bench in Agra during electioneering. All political parties have committed themselves to this demand in the past, but for political reasons it has been hanging fire," said advocate Rajvir Singh.
The centre-appointed Jaswant Singh Commission had favoured setting up a bench in Agra in the early 1980s. The central government, not wanting to antagonise lawyers in Allahabad and Meerut, has been ignoring this demand, says senior lawyer K.C. Jain.
Former chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, he said, had recommended setting up the bench at Agra Nov 7, 1994, and the parliamentary consultative committees on at least three occasions recommended implementation of the Jaswant Singh Commission report.
The population of Uttar Pradesh, according to the 2011 census, is 19.95 crore. Around a million cases are pending in the Allahabad High Court, mostly from western Uttar Pradesh, say lawyers.
"It is, therefore, logical and practical to set up the bench at Agra at the earliest in the interest of speedy and fair justice for all," said Jain.