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Lawyers extend boycott

- Members of Imphal bench of Gauhati High Court adamant

Imphal, Dec. 17: Members of High Court Bar Association, Manipur, today announced a further extension of their court boycott 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 works 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 and also following reports that there were moves to absorb existing judges of Gauhati High Court for a high court in Manipur.

The high courts are likely to be opened latest by January next. “We will not call off the agitation until we are assured that the demands would be fulfilled,” senior high court lawyer Khaidem Mani told reporters today.

Today’s announcement of the extension of the strike came a day ahead of inauguration of the new building of the court of the chief judicial magistrate of Chandel district at the district headquarters of Chandel.

On Wednesday the court building of chief judicial magistrate Senapati will be inaugurated at the district headquarters of Senapati.

Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court A.K. Geol is expected to attend both the programmes.

Both the courts were functioning from the capital city for many years in view of prevailing law and order situation in the hill districts of Manipur. With the situation improving in the hills, the two courts will start functioning from their respective districts after the inauguration.

The members of the high court bar are unlikely to attend the two programmes. “We were neither informed about the inaugurations nor invited,” Mani said when asked whether the high court bar members would attend the programmes.

A delegation of the High Court Bar Association led by its president N. Kumarjit Singh is now camping in New Delhi to meet Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to press for their demands.

Last month, the delegation met Supreme Court Judge A.K. Patnaik, in-charge of high courts in the Northeast and Union law minister Ashwani Kumar to present its case.

The lawyers reviewed the agitation on December 3 and decided to extend the boycott indefinitely as no concrete assurances were given by Ashwani Kumar or Patnaik.