Pune Cantonment Court relocates to Wanowrie - Hindustan Times
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Pune Cantonment Court relocates to Wanowrie

ByNadeem Inamdar
Jun 11, 2024 06:06 AM IST

According to the lawyers’ association, the court is currently handling at least 30,000 cases which warranted the shift at least on a temporary basis

Taking cognisance of the impending demand for shifting the Pune Cantonment Court from its existing M G Road premises owing to the dilapidated structure and lack of space, the court has been temporarily shifted to Mahatma Phule Sanskritik Bhavan, Wanowrie. The court, which had been functioning at the M G Road premises since colonial times, handles cases from the Hadapsar, Cantonment, Kondhwa, Wanwadi and Mundhwa police stations. According to the lawyers’ association, the court is currently handling at least 30,000 cases which warranted the shift at least on a temporary basis.

The cantonment court deals with cases falling under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments’ Act which pertains to cheque bouncing involving both private complaints and non-cashing of cheques. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)
The cantonment court deals with cases falling under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments’ Act which pertains to cheque bouncing involving both private complaints and non-cashing of cheques. (REPRESENTATIVE PHOTO)

Former Pune Bar Association president, advocate K T Aru, said, “Currently, only three courts are functional at Wanowrie and since the cantonment court caters to cases from five police stations, two more courts must be made functional to reduce pendency. We want strong basic and ground infrastructure in place and strong follow-up is being carried out with the law and judiciary department, law ministry, Bombay High Court, and district court.”

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Lawyer Sandhya Patil said, “We have been witnessing rainwater seep into the court and bar rooms which damages the legal papers. We even raised money for the repairs to cover the roof with a tarpaulin sheet. The board administration has time and again requested the district court to shift the cantonment court to an alternative place so that the existing dilapidated structure can be demolished.”

“Rainwater seeps into the court and bar rooms, causing damage to case papers. This prompted us to raise money from lawyers and cover the roof with a tarpaulin. We had no option as the PCB did not respond to numerous complaints for repairs. There are plans to open two more courts and the PCB has repeatedly requested the district court to relocate the cantonment court to an alternative site to facilitate demolition work. There is a need for adequate parking space for lawyers, litigants and policemen escorting undertrials. Also, clean washrooms are needed for the visitors and minute attention must be paid to the rights of lawyers, citizens, courts, undertrials and all other stakeholders by the administration,” Patil said.

The cantonment court deals with cases falling under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments’ Act which pertains to cheque bouncing involving both private complaints and non-cashing of cheques. According to the PCB officials, rainwater seepage and leakage during the monsoon, poor condition of restrooms, and insufficient parking space are some of the main reasons that prompted immediate relocation. Also, litigants, policemen and lawyers faced multiple challenges due to the deteriorating state of the court building which requires urgent repairs.

In February, the Pune Cantonment Board (PCB) had recommended shifting the Pune Cantonment Court to Empress Garden on a permanent basis, citing the dilapidated condition of the British era building and the subsequent safety risk it posed during a structural audit carried out by the engineering department. A proposal to this effect was also prepared by a committee constituted by the PCB and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) however the decision to shift the 120-year-old building to Empress Garden sparked protests from citizens and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

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