Himachal High Court – District Bar stalemate over shifting court complex persists

Shimla: To decongest the city centre and at the behest of the High Court itself, a move to shift the district courts close to the Mall Road to Chakkar taken in May, 2007 persists, despite a new court complex having come up after spending over Rs 30 crores of public funds to construct it.

Registrar general of HP High Court, DS Chaudhary says that there was a judicial order prevailing about shifting of the district courts to the new complex. “Moreover, the new district judicial complex is not yet complete,” said Chaudhary.

New district court complex: Photo by – Ravinder Makhaik

However, sources maintain that the alterations and basic facilities that the High Court had desired had been carried out and finishing touches to the new complex with 21 court room were being given.

When contacted, chief engineer public works department (PWD) Nand Lal Sharma said, “besides paint and polish works being carried, the new complex was near ready.”

Though the new district court complex has been constructed under express orders and direct supervision of the High Court, it is the Shimla district bar association who are opposed to moving into the new complex and has petitioned the court.

The district courts presently are located in the crowded deputy commissioners office complex, close to the city center where 13 court rooms function under crowded conditions.

In response to a high court order refraining the government from shifting the district courts to the new complex, the home department in 20th August, 2011 let the judges know that Rs 30.4 crore had been spent on the new complex, which included Rs 2.02 Cr for constructing an approach road and 484 green trees were felled for the purpose.

Refraining from saying anything, principal secretary home PC Dhiman said, “the government was bound by court orders in the matter.”

Last year in November-December, when plans were drawn up for shifting to the new complex, lawyers had resorted to a long drawn agitation that turned aggressive. The lawyers had resorted to a hartal and even burnt an effigy of a former chief justice.

The issue has been tied up in knots since May, 2007, when the high court approved construction of the new complex at Chakkar over an alternate site at Khalini after rejecting a petition of the district bar association.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Kurian Joseph in a 15th December, 2010 order had noted that the decision to construct the new complex at Chakkar was taken in May, 2007, which was never challenged by the bar association.

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As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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