Shimla: The Himachal High Court shooed down the agitation of Shimla district bar association against shifting of the district courts to a new complex, holding that the association had not challenged construction of the new complex but were only concerned about lack of facilities.
The double bench of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice VK Ahuja court in its order, (a copy of which is with My Himachal News) has mentioned that an expenditure of Rs 37.44 crore has been incurred for constructing the new judicial complex at Chakkar.
Expressing pain and anguish about the lawyers resorting to agitations and bandhs over shifting of the complex, the court cited older orders as, â€œ it is significant to place on record the submissions made in this Court at one time that the Members of the Bar are concerned only with the lack of appropriate facilities at Chakkar. Significantly, they have shifted the stand thereafter.â€
The court order points out that the decision to construct the new complex at Chakkar was taken in May, 2007, which was never challenged by the agitating bar association.
â€œThat being so, after three years, what is the legal or moral justification in taking things to the street?â€ the order states.
Holding out a warning to the lawyers who have been abstaining from attending courts for one hour daily and also did hold a half day bandh on 10 December, the High Court reminded the bar of its duty towards their litigants for which they take a fee, saying, â€œit is illegal and unethical for lawyers to abstain from their duty.â€
In comparison to the 13 courts that are there in the congested old district courts complex, housed in the DC office complex that is close to city centre Mall Road, the new complex has 21 courts and Rs 23.71 crore has been spent on the building itself. For making a road and creating other infrastructural facilities at the Chakkar site, as many as 484 trees have been felled, the order records.
The court has directed SP Shimla to file an affidavit about what action was taken against the lawyers who resorted to a bandh on 10 of December, when the striking lawyers had burnâ€™t an effigy of former Chief Justice VK Gupta.
The agitating lawyers had taken to the recourse after holding the former chief justice responsible for shifting of the court complex to Chakkar without taking the district bar association into confidence.