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`Setting up of High Court Bench in final stage'

Staff Reporter

K. Venkatapathy holds discussions with High Court Chief Justice

BANGALORE: "The establishment of a Bench of the Karnataka High Court at Dharwad/Gulbarga is in the final stage and almost complete," said K. Venkatapathy, Union Minister of State for Law and Justice, on Saturday.

He was inaugurating a two-day Southern States Bar Councillors' meet organised here by the Karnataka State Bar Council.

He said he had held discussions on the establishment of the Benches with the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, Nauvdip Kumar Sodhi, on Saturday morning. The Chief Justice had told him that he had received a report from a committee of judges on the issue, and he subsequently wrote to the State Government.

Mr. Venkatapathy said the establishment of High Court Benches, other than the principal Bench, had already commenced. The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had already been set up. The need for more Benches would be considered after looking into the requirements and other aspects.

Supreme Court Bench

On the establishment of a Supreme Court Bench in South India, he said the demand is justified.

However, the Government has not been able to prevail upon the Supreme Court in this regard, and it is the prerogative of the Chief Justice of India to set up a Bench outside Delhi.

On the relationship between the Bar and the Executive, Mr. Venkatapathy said the independence and autonomy of the Bar Council should not be threatened or diminished and the Executive should respect the role of the council.

The view that the Bar's relationship with the judiciary has become "strained" is not far from truth.

This is evident from the spate of contempt cases against members of the Bar, he said and called upon judges to be restrained while using the provisions of contempt of court against advocates.

Law university

The Karnataka Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, H.K. Patil, said the State Government is formulating a Bill for setting up a law university. "Quality legal education is bound to produce quality advocates and quality judges," he said.

Calling for strengthening the justice delivery system, he said the administration of justice is the duty of the State. He regretted that 30,000 judgments remain unimplemented in the State and hoped that the meet would go into this issue and suggest ways to see that the common man's confidence in the judiciary is not dented.

He said there are 14.5 lakhs cases pending in courts in the State.

To tackle this problem, permanent Lok Adalats have been set up in six districts. Ninety new courts have been established and mass legal literacy programmes held.

The Advocate-General of Andhra Pradesh, C.V. Mohan Reddy; the Chairman of the State Bar Council, A.R. Patil; and Bar Council chairmen of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra and Goa were present.

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