Cal HC to hold special sittings during vacation
In a bid to reduce the number of cases pending before it, the Calcutta High Court will hold special sittings during the summer vacation to hear cases that were instituted prior to 2000.
The move has, however, been opposed by the Bar Association which has passed a resolution against it on the grounds that of the two-week vacation, the court will hold sittings on nine days.
While supporting moves to reduce pendency of cases, the association has sought filling up of vacancies of judges. The Calcutta High Court has at present 35 judges, while it has a sanctioned strength of 72 judges, according to the website of the high court. The High Court's registrar general, Sugata Majumdar, said in an order published in the cause list (schedule of cases to be heard by the court) that "it is the solemn desire of the Acting Chief Justice (Justice Nishita Mhatre) to organise special sittings of the benches of this High Court during summer vacation, in order to hear pending cases which were instituted prior to January one, 2000."
The high court, which will be on vacation from May 22 to June three, will hear such matters on five days during this period. In addition to these special sittings, vacation bench which hears urgent matters will also sit on four days during this period. These special sittings will be held on May 22, 24, 26, 29 and June 2, while the vacation bench will sit on May 23, 25, 30 and June 1, according to the cause list published by the high court administration.
The move has been opposed by the Calcutta High Court Bar Association, which said its members will not attend the special sittings. "We want reduction in the number of pending cases, but the lawyers also need some respite during the gruelling summer," said Calcutta High Court Bar Association general secretary Suranjan Dasgupta.
"Out of two weeks of summer vacation, the court will have special sittings on five days, while there will be another four days of vacation bench," Dasgupta said. "What will be left of the vacation then," he asked, adding that the association has passed a resolution that its member lawyers would not attend the special sittings.
"We want the issue of filling up vacancies in the judiciary to be taken up urgently in order to address the problem of pendency of a huge number of cases before the high court," he said earlier this week. "Nearly three lakh cases are pending before the high court at present," executive member of West Bengal Bar Council Ashok Bakshi said.
"While pendency of cases has to be reduced, five days of special sitting will not vastly change the scenario," Bakshi, a senior advocate, said.
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