One year over, issues on jurisdiction and PILs are yet to be addressed

One year over, issues on jurisdiction and PILs are yet to be addressed

The maiden year of the Bench, result of a nearly four decade long struggle, has undoubtedly been an eventful one despite a few inadequacies which need to be addressed at the earliest.

The Bench has almost served its purpose of taking justice nearer to the litigants who have been spared the cost prohibitive and torturous wanderings to the principal seat in Bangalore.

The legal fraternity had the golden opportunity of proving its mettle and to learn the things from the exposure.

Though the hired lawyers keep coming from Bangalore in a considerable number quite a few local lawyers have also made their presence felt before the Bench.  
However, professional efficiency of legal fraternity is still in wanting and it needs to be taken care of by all the stake holders chiefly the High Court, Bar Council and Bar Associations.

Major deficiency

The Gulbarga Bench has been left with a major deficiency at its birth itself. Its jurisdiction has been cut to size resulting in drastic reduction of cases often haunting the question of viability.

The Hubli-Dharwad Bench is at a greater advantage with a larger jurisdiction of eight districts while the Gulbarga Bench had to be content with only four districts. The bar somewhat has maintained a conspicuous silence on the issue.

While the two districts of Gulbarga division Koppal and Bellary have been attached to Hubli bench, Bijapur of Belgaum division is tagged to Gulbarga Bench.

“It would be better if the jurisdiction of the two Circuit Benches is restricted to the respective revenue division. There would be no murmuring whatsoever,’’ remarked Principal Government Advocate of the Gulbarga Bench S S Kumman.

If that happens, seven districts will come under Hubli-Dharwad Bench and Gulbarga Bench will have five districts. This will also redress a number of adminsitrative and jurisdictional problems.

Clear-cut jurisdiction

For instance, Gulbarga University and NEKRTC will have a clear-cut jurisdiction as their operations are confined to the Gulbarga revenue division comprising the districts of Gulbarga, Bidar, Raichur, Koppal and Bellary. Now Koppal and Bellary are parts of Hubli bench.

Another major inadequacy is a bar on Circuit Benches from entertaining public interest litigations (PIL) as the powers relating to PILs are vested with the Chief Justice who presides over the High Court.

Senior lawyer P Vilaskumar said that it was high time the power of Chief Justice was delegated to senior most judge of the circuit bench to decide on the merits of a PIL.
The company matters have also been banned in circuit benches. In all 9810 cases had been transferred to Gulbarga from Bangalore. Besides, in the last one year 10,338 new cases including civil, criminal, and writs have been filed here.

The pendency right now is 12,799.

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