Place: Islampur district and sessions court
Time of work: 11am Wednesday to 7am Thursday
Judge: Jahangir Kabir
Cases heard: 393
Islampur, Oct. 10: The additional district and sessions judge of Islampur has set a remarkable precedent in a country where the judicial system is known for its glacial pace of work.
The day before the court went on leave till November 9, judge Jahangir Kabir kept the court open through the night to hear 393 cases.
Had these cases not been heard in these 20 hours, they would have been listed for hearing by a vacation bench on certain days in the middle of the one-month vacation.
Lawyers who were told about Judge Kabir’s 20-hour session said they had never heard of such an instance anywhere else in the country.
Senior advocate Gitanath Ganguli said: “To the best of my knowledge, there is no such precedent either in Bengal or in the rest of the country. In 2008, the Supreme Court had heard a case moved by Jagmohan Dalmiya till midnight. In May 2009, the summer vacation judge of Calcutta High Court, Justice D.P. Sengupta, had heard 201 bail petitions till 11pm.”
Ganguli added: “There is a provision that a judge can hear cases beyond court hours. It is the discretion of the concerned judge.” Courts open at 10.30am and close at 5pm.
A court source in Islampur said: “The proceedings were held in this manner because the vacation starts today.”
Along with the judge, the court staff stayed back as did policemen and around 50 lawyers whose cases were supposed to be heard.
“This is the first time in my career that I witnessed such a long duration of court proceedings. It commenced yesterday morning, continued through the night and concluded this morning,” said Mohammad Fajiruddin, the president of Islampur Bar Association.
Kaizer Choudhury, the assistant public prosecutor who also spent the night in court, said: “The cool head and energy of the judge was remarkable. He heard the cases one after another, listened to the lawyers and then dictated orders to the clerks. Such a step by the judiciary deserves appreciation.”
“Yesterday, around 2pm, he had a lunch of rice, lentils and vegetables at his quarters nearby. At 4pm, he had tea and biscuits and rested for 15 minutes in his chamber. Then over multiple cups of tea, he heard cases through the evening. He took a break at 11pm to have dinner and returned within 15 minutes from his quarters,” said a source.
As the hearings continued, “he had tea during the night,” the source added.
“There are some eateries on the court campus but all those had closed down in the evening. All we could do was sip some tea,” said Feroz Ahmed, a lawyer.
Judge Kabir worked to a plan. He first heard “cases for which witnesses were supposed to depose. Then he heard the cases where police officers were summoned to appear as witnesses. At night, he heard the bail pleas and cases on which appeals were made,” a court source said.
Judge Kabir, who is around 50 and hails from Behrampore, has been posted in Islampur for the last two years.