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Relocation of Uttarakhand HC outside Nainital: SC stays HC's order [Read Judgment]

By Shreya Agarwal      24 May, 2024 07:16 PM      0 Comments
Relocation of Uttarakhand HC outside Nainital SC stays HCs order

NAINITAL: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the May 8 order of the Uttarakhand High Court directing the state government to explore sites for relocation of the High Court outside its current location, i.e. Nainital. 

After staying the High Court's order, the court fixed the matter for further hearing after summer vacations on July 8, when it would be reopened for hearing.

The Court issued notice to, and sought the response of, the state government in this regard.

The move comes on a challenge by the Uttarakhand High Court Bar Association (UKHBA) to a May 8 order directing the Chief Secretary of Uttarakhand to locate the best suitable land for relocation of the High Court building.

The Court also asked for suitable options for setting up residential accommodation of judges, judicial officers, staff, court rooms, conference hall, chambers for at least 7,000 lawyers, canteen and parking space.

The High Court had also ordered the Chief Secretary that this entire exercise should be completed within a month and he should submit his report by June 7.

The Committee included the Registrar General of Uttarakhand High Court, Principal Secretary, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs of State of Uttarakhand and Principal Secretary, Home of State of Uttarakhand, two Senior Advocates, one member from Uttarakhand State Bar Council nominated by its Chairman and another from Bar Council of India nominated by its Chairman.

The High Court called for public voting on the matter through a portal set up by it.

“Since opinion of practising lawyers is also very essential, therefore, Registrar General of this (HC) Court is directed to open a portal by May 14, 2024 and lawyers are free to give their choice by opting yes if they are interested for shifting of High Court and no if they are not interested by indicating their enrolment number, date and signature. They shall exercise their option by May 31, 2024 and this date will not be extended," the HC said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appeared for the state, saying, "New benches are in Parliament's domain, but the High Court decision is like a referendum."

Further, Senior Advocate PB Suresh submitted for the Bar Association that the High Court was set up by Nainital through a Presidential Order, therefore, the High Court could not have directed for voting on the issue.

He agreed with the State that it is only the Parliament or the Central government which could take decisions on the setting up of a Principal Bench of the High Court.

The Bar Association plea stated that “The decision is legally impermissible and is totally against the overall welfare of the State of Uttarakhand in as much as the High Court has failed to consider the legislative intent in placing the highest seat of the judiciary of the State at Nainital resulting in the passing of the order”.

The HC pointed out that Nainital city is a well known tourist place and people come here from different parts of the country and from abroad as well and traffic congestion is one of the biggest problem in the city.

The HC in its order noted that when the Uttarakhand was created in 2000, the sanctioned strength of High Court was only three Judges. Within 20 years, the strength has gone to 11. For in the next 50 years, the strength is likely to go at least eight times. So within next 50 years, we need land for 80 Judges. Its capital was established at Dehradun temporarily and High Court was established in Nainital.

Senior Advocate PB Suresh and Advocates Vipin Nair, Vinod Khanna, Karthik Jayshankar, Ayush Negi, Kartikeya Hari Gupta, Dinesh Rawat and BD Pande appeared for the Uttarakhand High Court Bar Association.

Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra along with Advocate Supriya Juneja appeared for the Dehradun Bar Association, on caveat.

Cause Title: High Court Bar Association vs State of Uttarakhand and ors.

[Read Judgment]



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