Cases pile up, not enough room for justice in Belapur
Nearly 36,000 cases wait to be heard at the CBD Belapur court. The reason for the delay is clichéd — not enough courtrooms, reports Kanchan Chaudhari.mumbai Updated: Sep 25, 2009 02:39 IST
Nearly 36,000 cases wait to be heard at the CBD Belapur court. The reason for the delay is clichéd — not enough courtrooms.
Although, the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO) has earmarked a five-acre-plot for a new court complex for Navi Mumbai, the development proposal is pending government approval for the last two years.
At present, four JMFC (Judicial Magistrate First Class) courts are functioning in CBD Belapur in 3,500 sq ft rented space. Originally the space was rented for three courts. Therefore, the fourth local court is a makeshift arrangement, without even a proper dais for the judge.
“Partition was put in one of the courts to accommodate the fourth court,” said H.B. Patil, president of the local bar association.
“Two clerical tables are joined and a makeshift court has been created,” added Prasad Madhvi, a member of the bar association.
As a result, there is no space for government pleaders, prosecutors, litigants and the court staff in the existing courts. The 350-member bar association operates out of a 120-sq ft cabin.
“We hit other lawyers or litigants standing in the bar room when we try to wear the coats,” said Patil.
He said senior division and sessions courts could not be set up in Navi Mumbai due to lack of space.
“We have tried hard at every level — with the state bar council, Mantralay but nothing has happened,” said Patil. Recently, district guardian minister Ganesh Naik, had called a meeting with the finance and PWD officials raising hopes of the local lawyers.
“The finance minister has agreed to sanction at least Rs 15 crore for the new court complex,” said Patil, who expects that work would start at the site soon.
Estimated at a cost of Rs 51 crore (2007 estimate) the new court complex is designed to house 34 courts, and other affiliated facilities like bar room, space for administrative staff.
Meanwhile, 34,000 criminal and 2,000 civil cases are still pending.