Agartala: As many as 300 practising lawyers of Tripura on Friday wrote a letter addressing the Chief Justice of India seeking his immediate intervention to resolve the hurdles of justice delivery in absence of a full-time Chief Justice in Tripura High Court.
The Lawyer’s body noted that in November last year, former Chief Justice of Tripura High Court Indrajit Mahanty retired from service and acting Chief Justice Subhasis Talapatra was transferred to Orissa High Court. Justice SG Chattopadhyay also retired on December 31, 2022.
Because of the transfer and retirements of judges who served in the Court, the total number of judges dwindled from four to two bringing hearings of some sensitive and complicated matters to an unprecedented halt.
Senior advocate Shankar Deb said: “In 2013, Tripura got a full-fledged High Court with a sanctioned strength of five judges. Although on paper the High Court was entitled to get five judges, the Court did not get full-strength appointments. Since the last few months, the High Court is functioning with only two judges, which makes certain issues difficult to be addressed.”
Citing an instance, he explained, for example, if a litigant needs to challenge a verdict passed by the Single Bench, the petition must be filed in the division bench. A petition cannot be heard by a judge who has already passed a judgement on the issue. So, a number of petitioners are in distress because of the delay in the appointment of a full-time Chief Justice, the senior advocate said.
Advocate Somik Deb said, “Some crucial issues deserve a division bench for hearing from the beginning. For example, in cases like the death penalty and arbitration, Chief Justice is the main authority. Moreover, in issues like the appointment of new judges for the Court, the Chief Justice has a say. So the whole process of justice delivery gets affected by the delay. We hope the Chief Justice of India will listen to our issues.”
Senior advocate Purushottam Roy Barman, on the other hand, said, “It is painful that being an integral part of India, our High Court is running sans a Chief Justice.”
Justice T Amaranath Goud has been appointed the Acting Chief Justice. Apart from him, Justice Arindam Lodh is also a sitting judge of the Court.
The letter, accessed by EastMojo, detailes the whole problem.
“The Hon’ble Chief Justice of the Hon’ble High Court of Tripura, superannuated on 10 November, 2022 and no Hon’ble Chief Justice of the High Court of Tripura has as yet been appointed and therefore the Hon’ble High Court of Tripura has been under the stewardship of Hon’ble Mr. Justice T. Amamath Goud, the Hon’ble Chief Justice (Acting). In September, 2022, the Collegiums of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, recommended transfer, appointment and the posting of the Hon’ble Mr. Justice A. P. Singh, but despite the recommendations of the Collegium of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, not been given effect to,” the letter said.
“Meanwhile, on 31 December, 2022, the Hon’ble Mr. Justice S.G. Chattopadhyay has retired from service on superannuation and thus the number of Hon’ble Judges of the Hon’ble High Court of Tripura has reduced to only 2 (two) Hon’ble Judges, which means that, the forum for intra court appeals is not available unless the vacant posts of the Hon’ble Judge inclusive of the Hon’ble Chief Justice be filled up immediately. The present strength of the Hon’ble Judge of the Hon’ble High Court is 2 (two) only inclusive of the Hon’ble Chief Justice (Acting). The establishment of the Hon’ble High Court of Tripura has been made in 2013 after a long struggle by the people of Tripura and that unless full strength of the Hon’ble Judge of the High Court of Tripura, is available, the cry for justice for the people of Tripura is going to become illusive,” the letter pointed out.
Help sustain honest journalism.
The letter also noted that some of the Collegium recommendations had not been honoured and urged the Chief Justice of India to address the problem as early as possible.
“The Members of the Bar Associations of Tripura are aware that, the Collegiums of the Hon’ble Supreme Court recommended the names of a good number of Judges for appointment which are now being stuck at a different level and the recommendations of the Collegiums are not being honoured. The law of the land mandates that the recommendations of the Collegiums of the Hon’ble Supreme Court should be honoured but unfortunately for some undisclosed reasons, the recommendations are not being honoured. We the Members of different Bar Associations of Tripura most humbly and respectfully submit and pray that, Your Lordship would kindly look into the matter and early steps for fulfilling our prayer for appointment and posting of the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Tripura as well as filling up of the vacant Posts at the earliest for which gracious act of kindness, we the members shall ever remain grateful,” the letter added.
Also Read | Insurgency-related incidents reduced by 89% in NE: Union Min Anurag Thakur
- India’s highways infra to match US by 2024: Nitin Gadkari
- Man sentenced to 100 years in prison for Indian-origin girl’s death in US
- Assam CM inaugurates, lays foundation for Rs 545-cr projects
- Navy’s car expedition covering ‘entire coastline’ flagged off from Kolkata
- What the stars do not have in store for you, as per your horoscope
- Bangladesh MP bats for border hospitals on lines of border haats