All-party momentum for HC circuit bench at Kolhapur

Rambhau JagtapUpdated: Saturday, March 05, 2022, 11:08 PM IST
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All-party momentum for HC circuit bench at Kolhapur |

Karad: Political leadership from western Maharashtra and Konkan has thrown its weight behind the move to set up a circuit bench of the Bombay High Court at Kolhapur and an all-party meeting in Mumbai this week decided to request Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to discuss the issue with Chief Justice Dipankar Datta on or before March 9 when the Kolhapur Bench Action Committee meets.

An all-party meeting on the issue was held at Mahila Vikas Mahamandal auditorium in south Mumbai on Thursday, which was attended by political representatives from six western districts, advocates, bar council members, and members of the Kolhapur Bench Action Committee.

Addressing the meeting, Maharashtra Legislative Council chairman Ramraje Naik-Nimbalkar said if benches could be set up at Aurangabad and Nagpur, there should not be any issue in setting up one in Kolhapur to facilitate hearing of cases. He said there is no substance in claims made that a bench in Kolhapur will in any way reduce the importance of the Bombay High Court. He said decentralisation of the legal system will facilitate quicker delivery of justice to people.

State water resources minister Jayant Patil requested Nimbalkar to lead a delegation of all-party leaders to meet the CM on this issue and urge him to hold discussions with the Chief Justice. Maharashtra and Goa Bar Council member advocate Vivek Ghatge said the council members had passed a resolution in 2014 to set up the Kolhapur bench, and recounted the struggle for setting up the bench.

Karad South MLA and former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan told the meeting that the successive governments in Maharashtra – the Cong-NCP government as well as the BJP-led government led by Devendra Fadnavis – had shown readiness to allocate necessary funds for setting up the Kolhapur bench.

The demand for a Kolhapur bench has been longstanding and it can save time and resources of the legal fraternity from western Maharashtra and Konkan who have to travel 500 km to Mumbai for legal hearings. A 2005 survey had indicated that if a bench is set up at Kolhapur, it could reduce the burden of cases on Bombay High Court by 45 to 60 per cent.

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