PM assures Tripura lawyers to consider separate High Court demand

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Agartala, Sep 23 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured a lawyer's delegation of Tripura last week to consider the demand of setting up a separate High Court in the state to speed up the disposal of pending cases, as well as to reduce the expenditure burden of the state government.

Addressing mediapersons here today, senior lawyer and Bar Association president Apangshu Mohan Lodh said that more than 6000 cases of serious nature had been lying pending with the High Court only because of the absence of a full-fledged High Court.

Since Tripura had a bench of the Guwahati High Court, the judges were frequently flying in from other states along with other staff and as a result, the state had incurred a huge financial burden, Mr Lodh said.

''In 2007-08, about Rs 3.16 crore was spent for the Agartala bench of the Guwahati High Court and Rs 16 Lakh of the expenditure was paid out for travelling purpose of the judges and other officials, while Rs 33.60 lakh was spent for the judges' salaries, which is huge for a state like Tripura,'' Mr Lodh observed.

The Tripura government had been persuading the issue separately since long and another delegation of lawyers and legislators from all parties had met Union Law Minister H R Bharadwaj last year. However, nothing was done despite of the assurances.

However, Mr Lodh warned to hold a demonstration in New Delhi in the second week of August, if the demand for a High Court was not met and said, ''Irrespective of ideology and political affiliation, all lawyers in Tripura have come together to spearhead a mass movement for a separate High Court in the state.'' He informed that the Union government had submitted an affidavit before the Agartala bench of the Guwahati High Court in 1995, stating its intention of setting up a full-fledged High Court in Tripura in response to a writ petition filed by a lawyer here.

Moreover, states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand, formed in late 2000 and much closer to Delhi in distance had already obtained their independent High Courts, but Northeastern states were having only one High Court in Assam, which showed Delhi's negligence towards the Northeast, Mr Lodh pointed out.

Meanwhile, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar had also supported the move by the lawyers and said, ''In a letter to the then governor of Assam and Meghalaya in March 25, 1987, the Union Law Minister communicated the Centre's decision to set up a separate High Court in each of the seven northeastern states'' and added that all the Chief Ministers of the region had written letters to the Centre, demanding a full-fledged High Court, in their respective states, since 1987 but New Delhi had either ignored the demand or remained evasive.

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