Calcutta High Court's Jalpaiguri circuit bench operationalised
Darjeeling: The Jalpaiguri circuit bench of the Calcutta High Court was "operationalised" on Saturday in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who described it to be a new feather in Bengal's crown. Speaking at the event, she trained guns on the Centre and said: "I had laid the foundation stone in 2012. The idea was conceived in 1988 and it has come to fruition today. Why has it taken so long?"
The Chief Minister further added that through this, a long-standing dream of the people of North Bengal has been fulfilled. "This new circuit is a historic landmark. It is a jewel in the crown for North Bengal," she stated.
Incidentally, the inauguration of the Bench had emerged as a flashpoint between the Union and the state government. Earlier the state government had set September 17, 2018, as the inauguration date but it had failed to get the Union government's approval for the same.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the Jalpaiguri circuit bench on February 8. However, the state government officials, as well as the high court, were kept in the dark about the development.
"The land is ours, circuit bench is of the high court. Neither the groom nor the bride is there but the bandwala has come," the Chief Minister had then said. The state government considered it to be a ploy by the Modi government to reap political dividends.
At the programme on Saturday, Banerjee said she did not "want to go into any controversy on this auspicious occasion."
Noting that "all is well that ends well", she said the bench could have been inaugurated earlier had the necessary notification been issued by the Centre.
The Chief Minister also alleged: "We have 88 fast-track courts in the state. The Centre has stopped funding them. We are funding the courts ourselves."
She further stated that along with the legal system, the infrastructure of the Judiciary has also been upgraded.
"We have given land for a new High Court building in Rajarhat. We will also repair and upgrade the courts in the state," added Banerjee.
The Chief Minister appealed to the Circuit Bench to give emphasis on regional languages. "The Bench will cater mainly to Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Cooch Behar at present," stated Keshari Nath Tripathi, Governor.
The Circuit Bench with one Divisional Bench and two single Benches will become functional from March 11. There will be four judges stationed in Jalpaiguri.
Justice Biswanath Samaddar, the Acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court will lead the Divisional Bench for a week.
The Circuit Bench will operate from the Dak Bungalow at present. Later, it will be shifted to Paharpur, Jalpaiguri, where a permanent structure is being constructed.