Cal HC lawyers' agitation extended till April 18
Kolkata: In a setback to litigants, the one-and-half-month long cease work at the Calcutta High Court demanding appointment of judges, was today extended by another fortnight by lawyers' associations.
The Calcutta High Court Bar Association in a general body meeting decided to extend the protest till April 18. The two other associations - Bar Library Club and Incorporated Law Society - followed suit in view of the decision taken by the largest body of lawyers.
"The Bar Association took a resolution that since there was no satisfactory progress in respect of filling up long pending vacancy of the judges in the high court, cease work will continue till April 18," its president Uttam Majumdar said.
The association will hold another general body meeting on April 19 to review the situation and decide the next course of action, he said.
Majumdar said only three judges have been appointed since the agitation began on February 19, taking the number of sitting judges to 33 which falls short of even half the number of the sanctioned strength of 72 judges for the high court.
He said the Ministry of Law has not given any time frame in filling up the posts of judges.
Representatives of the three lawyers' associations had met Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on March 17 and the Chief Justice of India on March 16 over filling up of vacancies in one of the oldest high courts in the country.
"In solidarity with the Bar Association, the Bar Library Club members have also decided to extend the cease work till April 18," its president Jayanta Mitra said.
Many litigants, who turned up in the court with hope today, were a dejected lot.
While a few petitioners had moved the courts in person owing to urgency during the ongoing agitation, most of the litigants did not have the wherewithal to do so.
The judges sit in their court rooms daily in the morning and petitions are called for hearing but with no one to plead in favour or against the petitions, they later retire to their chambers.
Several lawyers who do not have strong financial position are also hoping that the impasse is resolved quickly.
People associated with the legal profession indirectly - like the large number of typists in cubbyholes, photocopiers, writers and even the sundry tea sellers outside the court premises are having a tough time to make ends meet as the agitation drags on.