RTI activist files PIL seeking court intervention to end lawyer strike in Cal HC
The litigant, Biswanath Goswami, said that although he has filed the PIL at the Calcutta High Court, the application has been addressed to the Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India.kolkata Updated: Apr 18, 2018 14:46 IST
As the lawyers’ strike at Calcutta High Court entered the 58th day on Tuesday, an RTI activist filed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking court intervention to bring an end to the cease work that has put common people in great trouble.
The litigant, Biswanath Goswami, said although he has filed the PIL at the Calcutta High Court, the application has been addressed to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India. “I have been informed by the registrar general of the high court that they will forward my application to the office of the CJI at the earliest,” Goswami said.
Goswami said that in his application he has quoted various judgements of the apex court that declared such strikes as illegal. “This is the first and only move by any person to end ongoing strike or cease–work,” he claimed.
The strike, called by Bar Association of Calcutta High Court and supported by Bar Library and Incorporated Law Society, started on February 18 to press for immediate appointment of judges in the court.
A total of 10,000 advocates are on strike, paralysing the operations of the country’s oldest high court. There are more than 2.2 lakh pending cases at Calcutta high court.
Bar Association president Uttam Kumar Majumdar denied any knowledge of the PIL filed by Goswami. “I am unable to comment since I am not aware of it,” he said. The association is scheduled to review the situation on April 19 and take a decision on whether to continue with the strike.
Though there is a sanctioned strength of 72 judges at the Calcutta High Court, there are only 33 right now. Two of these 33 judges are deputed at Port Blair circuit bench, thus effectively reduces the number to 31.
The Bar Association has argued is that except Karnataka High Court, every high court in the country has more than 50-60% of the sanctioned strength of judges. Only Calcutta High Court is functioning with 45% strength, it has said.
This is the longest strike by lawyers at the court. The earlier record was a 45-day strike in 2004. It was part of a statewide stir against a sharp revision of stamp duty rates in which lawyers from all courts in West Bengal participated.