Agra lawyers march for HC bench

Hundreds of lawyers and activists of various political parties on Wednesday began a march to the Taj Mahal to demand a High Court bench in Agra.

The Jaswant Singh Commission set up by the central government in the early 1980s had specifically recommended Agra for setting up a bench of the Allahabad High Court.

The Allahabad HC — one of the oldest in the country — has a bench in Lucknow.

Civil aviation minister Ajit Singh’s meeting with union law minister Ashwini Kumar three days ago for an HC bench in Meerut had ignited the agitation. However, Jayant Choudhary — Ajit Singh’s son and MP from Mathura — has supported Agra’s case.

Police have diverted traffic to avoid inconvenience to tourists as it is the peak tourist season in Agra. The leaders of the HC bench movement have assured district authorities that they will remain peaceful and abide by guidelines.

According to directives of the apex court, no demonstration or meeting can be held within 500 metres of the Taj Mahal. Since all major associations and unions in the city are supporting the HC bench issue, the number of protesters may become large for police to cope with.

Agra mayor Inderjeet Arya, political leaders, and students and lawyers from Mathura, Firozabad, Aligarh and other neighbouring areas have joined the march.

A public meeting at Purani Mandi crossing will be held on Wednesday, and a memorandum addressed to the President will be given to district magistrate Ajay Chauhan.

A large number of security personnel have been deployed around the Taj Mahal and the road connecting Yamuna Expressway with Yamuna Kinara Road.

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