The Telegraph
Monday , March 3 , 2014

Manipur litigants suffer Lawyers demand HC judges

- Manipur litigants suffer

Imphal, March 2: Lack of judges in the barely one-year-old High Court of Manipur has caused “sufferings” for litigants and led to piling up of pending cases.

The high court, which was opened last year, will be celebrating its first anniversary on March 23. The new high court, however, has only two judges, including an acting chief justice and one judge out of four sanctioned posts of judges.

The All Manipur Bar Association today demanded appointment of a full-fledged Chief Justice and filling up of two vacant posts of judge before the celebration of the first anniversary of the high court.

The Imphal bench of Gauhati High Court became a full-fledged high court on March 23 last year. Though the All Manipur Bar Association had demanded appointment of at least five judges, including the Chief Justice, only four posts were created out of which two are yet to be appointed.

“We have one acting Chief Justice and another judge. As a result, litigants are suffering. If a litigant wants to move a larger bench against the ruling of a double bench or if the double bench has a difference of opinion he or she will have to approach the Supreme Court,” president of the association Khaidem Mani Singh said.

Laxmi Kanta Mohapatra, a former judge of Allahabad High Court, was sworn in as the acting Chief Justice on October 21 last year after the first Chief Justice Abhay M. Sapre was transferred as Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court.

The other judge is Nongmeikappam Kotiswar, a resident of Imphal.

Mani Singh said if the petitioner is a government employee, it will be easy for them to go to the Supreme Court and afford a lawyer in Delhi. However, poor litigants, who felt aggrieved by the rulings here could not go to Delhi to move the apex court, he said, adding this was denial of justice.

He said pending cases were piling up as only two judges had been holding the court sittings since the opening of the high court. There more than 4,000 pending cases in the high court, he added.

“Sikkim High Court has three judges. Meghalaya High Court also has three judges. Appointing only two judges in a high court is step-motherly treatment of the state by the Centre and authorities concerned. There is no high court in India which is functioning with only two judges,” Mani Singh said.

He demanded that two judges should be immediately appointed from among eligible members of the state’s bar or the judges of the subordinate courts.

Mani Singh also demanded posting of adequate staff for the five district and sessions judge courts in Manipur.

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