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End in sight to lawyers’ strike

- High Court Bar Association to discuss action plan on Monday

Imphal, Nov. 29: Lawyers of the Imphal bench of Gauhati High Court, who are boycotting the courts demanding appointment of at least five judges for the proposed Manipur High Court and appointment of only local men as judges, may resume work on Tuesday.

The lawyers have been on a ceasework since November 8.

The High Court Bar Association, Manipur, will meet on Monday to review its plan and is expected to take a decision on resuming work the next day.

The development came after a two-member delegation of the bar association, headed by its president N. Kumarjit, met Union law minister Ashwani Kumar and senior Supreme Court judge A.K. Patnaik, the in-charge of high courts in the Northeast in Delhi.

The delegation left Imphal on November 25 and is still camping in New Delhi to meet Supreme Court Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Gauhati High Court Chief Justice A.K. Goel to seek fulfilment of their demands.

“Justice Patnaik and the Union law minister assured the delegation that they would look into the demands of the High Court Bar Association. The response is positive and we will meet on Monday to decide whether to continue the boycott or to suspend it,” the vice-president of the bar association, Chingangbam Dhananjoy, said today.

The delegation will return to Imphal on Saturday and there were indications that the Monday meeting may decide to end the boycott.

On an average, the Imphal bench takes up 300 cases per day and over 6,000 cases were pending.

It has the highest number of pending cases next to the principal seat in the Northeast.

“Manipur has more than 2,000 lawyers. The high court judges could be appointed either from the bar or bench. There are more than 100 eligible candidates for the posts of high court judges. The judges can be transferred to other others. However, a non-Manipuri should not be appointed judge in Manipur High Court,” Khaidem Mani Singh, a senior lawyer of the Imphal bench, said.

“The demand was raised to create avenues for state lawyers and judges of the lower courts to the posts of high court judges,” he added.


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