HC upholds constitutional obligation despite space constraint, govt inability

Srinagar: The unprecedented deluge had government overwhelmed. It is not exaggeration. Instance about government’s total absence on the ground when it was needed are a plenty.
Chief Justice M M Kumar wrote letters to the Governor and the Chief Minister, requesting for providing guesthouse or any alternative building to start functioning of the High Court to meet the constitution obligation.
Like many government offices including the civil secretariat, the floods submerged the building of the High court, the state’s highest judicature.
“When the government expressed inability, we request one our judges to vacate his official accommodation so that high court resumes functioning,” Chief Justice M M Kumar said, emphasizing that the court cannot remain closed for long given the constitutional obligation.
It has been more than a weeks since the High Court started functioning from the new space—three small rooms, at Sonawar here.
Unlike very spatial halls in the court building, the benches conduct hearing in 10X12 feet or less spatial courtrooms.
There is a simple table and chair in front of the judges while lawyers appear by their turn when called to attend the case by the court staff. Given the paucity of space, the litigants rarely accompany counsel to see the proceedings.
The high court is presently dealing with fresh cases and the Chief justice has said that the old cases have to wait normal functioning of the court.
“As long as there is no file before us, we cannot pass any order. However, if there is some very important case from old ones, we will try our level best to hear it also,” the Chief Justice told a new channel recently.
From the makeshift building, the court among others has already announced a significant verdict, directing insurance companies to pay interim relief to the claimants who suffered huge losses due to floods in the state that has claimed over 280 lives and destroyed property worth thousands of crores of rupees.
The chief justice also stays in the first floor of the building after his official accommodation was inundated.
He was rescued at around 2 am on September 6 after the high court and his residence got flooded.

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