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Manipur lawyers extend boycott

- Bar association sticks to demands

Imphal, Dec. 3: Members of the High Court Bar Association, Manipur, today resolved to continue abstention from work until concrete assurances were given by relevant authorities to fulfil their demands.

Members of the Imphal bench of Gauhati High Court have been abstaining from work since November 8 demanding appointment of seven judges for a separate high court of Manipur and also appointment of only Manipuris as judges.

The high court lawyers launched the agitation as the Centre was planning to open separate high courts for Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura anytime and also following reports that there were moves of absorbing existing judges of Gauhati High Court for a high court in Manipur.

The high courts are likely to be opened latest by January.

The bar association held a meeting today to review its course of agitation and also assurances given by Supreme Court judge A.K. Patnaik, in-charge of high courts in the Northeast, and Union law minister Ashwani Kumar to look into their demands.

A delegation of the bar association led by its president N. Kumarjit met Patnaik and Kumar last week in Delhi.

“Today, we have reviewed the outcome of the meetings in Delhi and we have decided that the assurances given by the honourable Supreme Court judge and the Union law minister were not satisfactory. So, we will continue our agitation for an indefinite period,” Kumarjit told reporters after the meeting.

He said the association was planning to intensify the agitation by mobilising support from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and the Chief Justice of India. The delegation during their visit to Delhi last week tried to meet the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

The association is also planning to hold sit-ins and rallies to mount pressure on the Centre and the Supreme Court to fulfil their demands.

The resolution noted that the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court, A.K. Goel, “failed to feel the pulse” of the High Court Bar Association, Manipur. “He is not taking interest in the affairs of Manipur and he is acting as if he is not the chief justice of Manipur,” the resolution said.

Kumarjit said Manipur has four quotas for judges in Gauhati High Court. At present, there are only two judges from Manipur.

Gauhati High Court has a sanctioned strength of 24 judges. Though Assam had 11 quotas, now the number of judges from Assam had gone up to 15, Kumarjit said.

Khidem Mani Singh, a senior member of the bar association, demanded an inquiry into the manner in which judges of Gauhati High Court are appointed.


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