Tharoor moves Bill for permanent HC Benches in State capitals

The Kerala High Court is located in Ernakulam, 200 km away from capital Thiruvananthapuram

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Friday moved a private member’s Bill in the Lok Sabha seeking to establish permanent Benches of High Courts in State capitals.

In Kerala, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Goa, Uttarakhand, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Chhattisgarh the State High Court is situated outside the capital city.

The private member’s Bill was moved in the Lok Sabha after a gap of nearly two years. The private member’s business had been pushed back due to multiple reasons, curtailed hours due to COVID protocol and disruptions due to opposition protest. Mr. Tharoor’s “Establishment of permanent benches of high courts at state capitals Bill” too had been pending since 2019.

The Bill though aims for all States, it specifically mentions Kerala where the permanent seat is in Ernakulam, which is nearly 200 km away from capital Thiruvananthapuram.

Explaining the necessity for bringing such legislation, the Bill says, “It has been observed that the State is a principal litigant in a majority of cases pending in various High Courts. This had led to the State Governments incurring considerable expenditure on account of travelling allowance and leave allowance given to the Government employees for travelling from State capitals to the places of principal seats of the High Courts concerned for depositions.”

Mr. Tharoor argued that ever since the formation of the State of Kerala in 1956, there has been a demand for establishment of a permanent Bench at the State capital. He said justice should be taken to the doors of the litigants rather than compelling the litigants to travel the distance to the court.

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