The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 28 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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HC rejects plea on circuit bench

Calcutta, Nov 27: A full bench meeting of the Calcutta High Court judges today turned down a proposal by the state government to start the functioning of the court’s north Bengal circuit bench by taking up cases from three districts — Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar.

The judges said the proposal could be discussed only after the Centre gave its nod.

The government sent the proposal after the high court had said there was no sufficient infrastructure to start the circuit bench at Jalpaiguri.

The high court had received the proposal on November 21 from the then law minister, Malay Ghatak. Sources said the government wanted the bench to consider cases from the three districts as the bench would come up in Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling and Cooch Behar are located close to the place.

Today, the acting Chief Justice Pratap Roy placed the proposal before the full bench meeting.

“During the discussion, it was found that the government had sent a similar proposal to Justice Kalyanjyoti Sengupta when he was the acting chief justice of the court a month ago. Instead of placing the proposal before the full bench, he had asked the state to send the proposal first to the Union law ministry for approval,” said a source.

Today, the judges said since Justice Sengupta had already conveyed the high court’s message to the state, the issue could be discussed only after the Centre approved the proposal.

Ghatak said: “The first time I mentioned that for a start, the circuit bench handle cases from only three neighbouring districts. In the second letter I requested that the matter be expedited. The state had to spend around Rs 1.5 crore on the temporary structure. We are answerable to the people.”