Kangra District Court Lawyers On Fast-Unto-Death To Abolish Circuit Courts

Dharamshala: Condition of two lawyers, including a women lawyer, deteriorated as a fast unto death undertaken by five of them entered the 3rd day today. Demanding the abolition of 6 circuit courts in Kangra district, the agitating lawyers say that livelihoods of over 300 advocates at Dharamshala district courts have been badly hit.

On 28th June, 2016 five lawyers Tek Chand Rana, Tarun Sharma, Ankur Soni, Richa Vashisht and Minakshi Hundal started an indefinite hunger strike to press for their demands.

“Ankur and Richa, whose health has been affected by the fast have refused medical assistance,” Jitender Sharma, a spokesperson for the district bar association said. “Two others Rajat Soni and Manjit Saini joined the other five in the fast today,” he added.

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Lawyers in the district courts have been boycotting the routine work and held a protest march from the Judicial Complex to Deputy Commissioners office, earlier today.

“We have been forced to strike,” says Jitender Sharma. “Six circuit courts at Palampur, Baijnath, Indora, Jawali, Nurpur and Dehra in Kangra district were established by the former chief justice of the High Court. This was the highest number of circuit courts established in any district and it has affected the livelihood of over 300 advocates in Dharamshala district courts.”

He further said, “the basic objective of setting up circuit courts was to deliver justice to people at their doorsteps. If this was the objective, then a circuit court of the HP High Court should also be established at Dharamshala. The state government too had written to the High Court. But nothing has been heard on this subject, though the demand is now is 30 years old.”

President of the Bar, Tek Chand Rana, who is on hunger strike for the last three days said, “neither the High Court nor the government is keen to address our demands. The bar members will continue with the strike until one of its demands of either abolition of circuit courts in Kangra or setting up of a High Court Circuit Bench at Dharamshala was met with .”

Last year, the Kangra bar association was given an assurance by the High Court that the number of circuit courts would be curtailed to three and a proposal was mooted to do away with the circuit courts at Jawali, Baijnath and Indora. However, a year has lapsed but no action has been taken,” said Rana.

The president of the District Bar Association said the advocates had been sitting on chain hunger strike for the past many months. However, the peaceful strike did not have any effect on the authorities. Now they had started fast-unto-death.

Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience. He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI. In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism award. He reports on the Tibetan Government in Exile, politics, sports, tourism and other topics. He lives in Dharamshala.

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