Chief Justice livid over govt inaction on housing for judges

Chief Justice livid over govt inaction on housing for judges

The Bench termed the government’s attitude as “apathetic” and amounting to deliberate disrespect of the judiciary.

Hearing a petition by the H S R Residents’ Association, which had challenged the formation of the judges’ quarters on a school ground, the Bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice A S Bopanna, gave the State Government a dressing down for not showing urgency in looking into the promised infrastructure, which the state government had assured to provide by March 2011. Terming the government’s action as unfair, the Bench asked: “How many ministers are travelling abroad and how much do they spend while traveling? Has the government gone bankrupt?

Government warned

Pointing out the need to inquire whether the government has adequate funds, the Chief Justice said the “High Court was not a serious concern for you.” An angry Justice Khehar inquired “whether the government is bankrupt” and warned that “if you don’t take any action, we have to move forward.”

When the government counsel submitted that the court send its registrar to talk to the government, Justice Khehar said: “ We are not sending anybody for a meeting. Sorry.

How many meetings do you conduct?” Expressing unhappiness over the issue of recruitment of judges, Justice Khehar sought to know whether judges “should be brought form Pakistan?”

The Chief Justice, who was most upset about the poor infrastructure in courts, said he “cannot imagine that the court is functioning in a private building. It is your bounden duty to provide infrastructure. You are just throwing something to us. You are doing it intentionally.”

Referring to advocates’ complaints on poor infrastructure, he said: “I feel helpless and guilty. I think what kind of Chief Justice I am. I feel humiliated.”  Criticising the government’s move to provide judges houses in civic amenities (CA) sites, the court said it has “set aside some of your orders” to construct buildings on parks and playgrounds. “But you have given us such land to us. You are humiliating us. We can stop all your activities. We will take remedial action,” the court warned.

When the government counsel referred to the State’s suggestion to form a committee to provide infrastructure, Bench retorted: “No, we want this to be solved all by yourself. We don’t want to be a part of this.”

Pointing out that the 13th Five Year Plan has a target to provide infrastructure to the judiciary, Justice Khehar said: “But the government here is sleeping. Its inaction has left the funds unutilised.” Issuing a final warning, the Bench asked the government to file an affidavit within three weeks.

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