The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Circuit bench

Calcutta, July 7: The state government today held the Centre responsible for the delay in setting up the proposed circuit benches of the Supreme Court in the city and of Calcutta High Court at Jalpaiguri in North Bengal, says a staff reporter.

Replying to a question by Tapan Hore of the RSP on the fate of the proposed apex court circuit bench, state law and judiciary minister Nisith Adhikary came down heavily on the Centre for remaining silent on the issue despite several reminders.

The state government had proposed to the Centre the setting up of a circuit bench of the Supreme Court in Calcutta following an unanimous resolution of the Assembly in 1996.

The proposal was aimed at providing relief to the thousands of people from Bengal and the rest of the region, who spend money to go to Delhi for settlement of legal disputes.

“The state government has pursued the matter for quick implementation of the project over and over again. The Centre has hardly responded to our appeals,” said Adhikary. “I think the Centre is not interested in finalising its stand on the matter because it (the Centre) is against the policy of decentralisation.”

Adhikary said this attitude was the probable cause of the Centre also delaying in giving the final clearance to the setting up of the circuit bench of Calcutta High Court in North Bengal.

“The preparations for setting up the circuit bench in North Bengal are ready. But we need to get a final clearance from the Centre to start its functioning,” the law minister said. He regretted that many people were being inconvenienced due to the delay.

Adhikary, however, said the state government had taken the necessary measures to reduce the number of pending cases in the high court and in subordinate courts in the districts.

He said nearly 3.60 lakh cases were pending in Calcutta High Court two years ago. This number has been reduced to 2.40 lakh this year.

The minister said 14 lakh cases are pending in the lower courts. This number, he added was nearly 18 lakh a few years ago.

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