No occupants for Shimla new judicial complex

Shimla: Having spent about Rs 40 crores from the public exchequer, the all new judicial complex at Chakkar lies unoccupied even 18 months after construction as the High Court dithers on giving marching orders and has been bowing to pressure from the district bar association who are reluctant to vacate the crowded space currently occupied in the deputy commissioner office complex.

With the High Court having directly monitored construction of the modern district court complex at Chakkar, no senior government officer is willing to say anything about the delays having taken place in shifting to the new complex.

However, on conditions of anonymity a senior officer said, “the entire infrastructure for functioning of 21 court rooms at Chakkar district court complex has been ready for over a year but it still remains unoccupied.”

“After all it was the High Court itself which had asked for construction of the complex on the ground that the current one housed in the deputy commissioners complex is in a congested place and now when Rs 40 crores has been spent, it has no occupant,” he said.

When contacted registrar general HP High Court AC Dogra said, “the district court infrastructure is incomplete. While the buildings have been completed but furniture like judges chairs and other related infrastructure still needs to be completed. It would take another month to be ready.”

The government however, maintains that adequate provisions have been made for the litigating public, space has been created for a bar room with facilities of separate canteens for staff, members of bar and public, a bank, post office, stamp vendors, typists etc, which are required in a judicial court complex.

Provision for parking space for judicial officers and others has been kept and adequate public transport facilities to the new complex can be provided for a government documents had stated in court but yet nobody wants to bell the cat.

Skeptics hold that it is not the new courts infrastructure but an underlying threat of an agitation by lawyers that is holding up the move to shift to the new courts.

In December, 2010 when an attempt to move out the courts was first made, the lawyers struck work, agitated and demanded a CBI inquiry into the whole process of shifting and construction of the new complex.

They even went to the extent of burning an effigy of a former chief justice of the High Court that pitched the district court bar against supervising High Court, itself.

It was in May 2007 that a decision was taken to move the district courts out of the DC complex, close to The Mall, where 13 court rooms function under very crowded conditions.

On express orders of the High Court, forest and private lands were acquired at Chakkar, 484 green trees were cut (the largest number of trees cut for any public project in recent years in the city) to make a road to the court site and speedy construction work was supervised by the court directly.

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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