Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 1
The crisis in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, brought about by shortage of judges and pendency of cases, has worsened. The relationship between its Bar and the Bench today took a direct hit with the lawyers’ association not only seeking Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha’s transfer, but also deciding to boycott his court for non-resumption of physical hearing of cases.
Rift also surfaced between the HC Bar Association and the Bar Council over the issue of removing Punjab Advocate-General Atul Nanda from the association’s membership.
In an out-of-the-ordinary move, the Bar Association’s general house decided to remove Nanda from membership for working against “physical opening of the court and interest of Bar” — a move dubbed by the council as ex facie illegal. Staying the decision, the council said disciplinary action against any Bar member could not be taken without following the drill. A specific agenda with due notice was required to be circulated, if a member’s conduct was to be discussed in the house.
Describing the association’s decision as unfair and uncalled for, the Bar Council said Nanda had publicly supported the resumption of physical working.
The council also referred to Nanda’s letter dated January 30 giving his consent for appearance of law officers of the State of Punjab during physical hearing of cases. Nanda’s approval is significant as consent of both parties is required for hearing a matter physically. Nanda refused to comment on the issue. But a senior functionary in the AG office said Nanda was in favour of physical hearing.
Bar president GBS Dhillon, meanwhile, made it clear the resolution passed during the general house meeting this afternoon on Chief Justice’s transfer and boycott would remain in force until complete opening of physical courts or his transfer.