Lawyers delayed by waterlogging: HC takes suo motu note - Hindustan Times
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Lawyers delayed by waterlogging: HC takes suo motu note

By, Chandigarh
Dec 02, 2023 08:45 AM IST

So severe was the waterlogging that the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association had to write a letter to the high court acting chief justice, Ritu Bahri, stating that judges be requested not to pass adverse orders due to non-appearance of lawyers as they were stuck in traffic jams

The Punjab and Haryana high court has taken suo motu note of waterlogging reported in and around the high court complex on Thursday, resulting in traffic chaos for hours, paralysing judicial work.

With 54.5 mm rain on Thursday, mainly in the first half of the day, November 30 was the wettest November day in 70 years, since India Meteorological Department (IMD) started maintaining records for Chandigarh. (Keshav Singh/HT)
With 54.5 mm rain on Thursday, mainly in the first half of the day, November 30 was the wettest November day in 70 years, since India Meteorological Department (IMD) started maintaining records for Chandigarh. (Keshav Singh/HT)

So severe was the waterlogging that the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association had to write a letter to the high court acting chief justice, Ritu Bahri, stating that judges be requested not to pass adverse orders due to non-appearance of lawyers as they were stuck in traffic jams.

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With 54.5 mm of rain on Thursday, mainly in the first half of the day, November 30 was the wettest November day in 70 years, since India Meteorological Department (IMD) started maintaining records for the city. As per IMD, it started with a weak Western Disturbance that became stronger due to a squall line formed over the city.

“The building premises of the Punjab and Haryana high court, being a heritage site, hold utmost relevance in the states of Punjab and Haryana, including Chandigarh, and such non-action on the part of the MC concerned in maintaining proper drainage system on its premises is raising serious question on their effective working,” the bench of justice Sureshwar Thakur and justice Sudeepti Sharma observed after being apprised by lawyers that most were stuck in traffic jams due to waterlogging.

The lawyers submitted that there was clogging of lanes leading up to high court and also the reserved parking area. This happened due to heavy rains, but no preventive steps were taken by the administration to ensure such ill-happening was precluded from reoccurring, the court was informed, adding that there was prime facie negligence on the part of the MC and UT administration.

Taking serious note of the submissions, the bench took suo motu note and referred the matter to the bench presided over by chief justice, observing that the occurrence had prevented appearance of lawyers in courts, thus “disabling expeditious disposal of cases” by the court.

The suo motu note has been taken at a time when the UT administration and high court administration are struggling to provide more infrastructure at the court complex amid increasing footfall, as it is a heritage site that limits changes.

A matter regarding holistic development plan of the high court is being heard almost every fortnight by the court to look for ways to deal with the challenge. As per proceedings in that matter, records from some rooms are being shifted to the old district court building in Sector 17 and UT is also mulling to provide land in Sarangpur for judicial records so that more rooms could be made available for other purposes at the complex. The biggest challenge on the complex is parking chaos. A multi-level parking has been in the pipeline for years together, but has been stuck due to the high court building’s heritage status.

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