Five new judges join Gauhati High Court
Gauhati High Court (file photo)

Assam government, as announced by chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, is planning an integrated judicial complex, which will include the Gauhati High Court along with the chief judicial magistrate and sessions courts of Kamrup (metropolitan) and Kamrup districts in one campus.

Attending the closing ceremony of Gauhati High Court’s (GHC) platinum jubilee at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra last week, Sarma revealed his vision for the modern complex in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Governor Gulab Chand Kataria, Union law & justice minister Kiren Rijiju, GHC chief justice Sandeep Mehta and other dignitaries. No doubt, the integrated complex will be helpful for people looking for justice on different occasions with lesser trouble.

Moreover, the initiative for such a complex in a favourable location inside the city may also boost the Assam government’s decision to beautify the bank of Brahmaputra from Pandughat to the Chunchali area in the eastern part. Needless to mention that the government has already dismantled the Kamrup (M) district magistrate’s office, the old city police commissioner’s office, bungalows for the state police chief and city police head, the old circuit house, etc., to clear the area and may be waiting to reorganise the Kamrup (M) CJM court, GHC’s new building and two impressive residential bungalows for judges located on the southern bank of the mighty river.

Appreciating the plan, the Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) reiterated its demand for a comprehensive media centre in the prehistoric city, where the journalists can assemble for regular interaction and organise training/orientation programs, workshops, and conferences for updating the media persons with the future course of actions.

The forum of scribes has appealed to the government to set up the centre in a way that it can accommodate offices of various media organisations (including press clubs) along with other necessary facilities. With the number of professional journalists associated with various newspapers, news channels, radio outlets, digital platforms, etc has been increasing in the city, the demand is justified, and the government should consider it.

Besides offices, a primary need will be an auditorium with around 1500 capacities equipped with a modern sound system and other technology-driven appliances. It should be ready for a video conference at any time, where it can host important personalities like foreign country heads, acclaimed authors, illustrious journalists, etc. For the physical presence of an individual with utmost socio-political importance, the auditorium should fulfil the security needs (like separate entry/exit, lift, lobby with a refreshing room, etc). Along with press conferences, it may be also used for regular training & orientation programs and media workshops for journalists (precisely the novice scribes from different parts of northeast India).

The centre must have a digital library with a sufficient number of internet-connected computer sets where the journalists can work according to their convenience. A good number of affordable lodging rooms for visiting journalists from different parts of the region should be accommodated.

Another essential addition will be a restaurant/canteen, where the journalists and their well-wishers can hang out in a dignified ambience and pass the quality time. Necessary parking space will have to be made inside the campus. Information offices of all northeastern states, a regional office of the Press Information Bureau, and probable official outlet of the DoNER ministry may also be incorporated into the space.

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The entire complex should be designed with the concept of energy efficiency, where the sunlight, natural airflow and open space would get due privileges. It should be empowered by rooftop solar energy units so that it hardly depends on regular electricity supply during the daytime. An efficient rainwater harvesting system, scientific arrangements for garbage management and recycling of water (used in the centre) should exhibit the complex as a new model of an eco-friendly campus in the country.

The inclusion of a public grievance unit in media discourses can add a different dimension to the centre, propagating advantages to millions of news consumers. Finally, the proposed centre will indirectly help the Ambari archaeological site reflecting ruins from the period of the Sunga-Kushana dynasty (but currently occupied by Gauhati Press Club since 1976) to be encroachment-free in a dignified way.

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