Calcutta High Court lawyers and judges at loggerheads over Holi holiday

Calcutta High Court lawyers and judges at loggerheads over Holi holiday

Aditya AK

Lawyers at the Calcutta High Court have decided to take a day off from court today despite Chief Justice Manjula Chellur’s advice to keep the court open on Holi.

The Bar Association had passed a resolution to discourage its members from attending court on March 6 in lieu of the national holiday. Most lawyers have decided to follow the resolution.

Speaking to Bar & Bench, Advocate Protik Prokash Banerji said,

“The Bar Association appears to have taken a resolution to close the Library of the Bar on March 6, the day when Holi is celebrated all over India.  In Calcutta, however, we celebrate the festival of colours as “Dol Yatra” a day before, on March 5.”

Even though yesterday, March 5th was observed as a holiday, the lawyers requested that the court be closed today as well, after the state government announced March 6 to be a holiday. However, Justice Chellur, perhaps subscribing to former Chief Justice Lodha’s views on increasing the number of court working days, was firm in her stand to keep the court open.

Several lawyers have expressed concern for the clients that may suffer as a consequence of the holiday. Banerji said,

“Most of us had already so arranged matters that none of our cases was on the docket on March 6 a national and state holiday which our High Court had not declared a holiday and so our absence would not hurt the interest of our clients. Yet, stopping Court for one whole day does not seem very reasonable, since many clients may have urgent cases.”

One could argue that the Bench’s intentions of restricting the number of holidays are well placed, given the pendency statistics of the Calcutta High Court. The court, which is closed for 134 days in 2015, has a pendency of around 30,000 cases on the original side and more than 2 and a half lakh cases on the appellate side, as per January 31 of this year.

HT to Parama Ghosh for her inputs.

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