Srinagar: It took 11 years for the Roads and Buildings department to construct the District Court Complex Srinagar at Mominabad. Equipped with the latest ‘high-tech’, the complex stands forlorn, inaugurated not even five months after it was completed in January.
The district court was supposed to move to the new complex in April, but due to unknown reasons the move was postponed to May 15. That deadline, too, has passed. The authorities are still unsure of who will inaugurate the complex and when.
Rashid Ali Dar, Principal District and Sessions Judge, who also holds the charge for administrative affairs, told Kashmir Reader, “We were supposed to move to the new building in April or May, but due to some leftover work at the new building we are not sure of the exact dates. Hopefully, it won’t take long.”
Refuting this statement, Chief Engineer R&B Sheikh Abdul Hameed said, “The building is complete in all aspects. There is no pending work. Work was completed in January this year with an estimated cost of Rs 120 crore.”
The new building with 31 courtrooms makes use of latest technology with internet access, microphone systems, and 62 cameras to keep an eye on the entire complex. Lawyers are annoyed at the delay in moving into the new building. Kashmir Bar Association Secretary Bashir Sidiq said, “We have taken up this matter with Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed. He has assured us that by Eid we will shift to the new court.”
Another Bar member, Mohammad Ashraf Wani, complained of lack of manpower. “The only reason that we are not moving to the new court is the lack of manpower. Even in this rented court building, we don’t have a sweeper, not to talk of other staff. The new building requires manpower for maintaining hygiene, security and other services. Unfortunately, authorities are maintaining their no-hiring policy,” Wani said.
The rented court building miserably accommodates 28 courts with their staff, and operates in the most unhygienic conditions. The court staff is eager to move to the new building as soon as possible.
“It is very difficult to work in a single room where two to three courts operate,” a staff member said. A lawyer complained that there is no privacy for clients. “The client has to speak in front of so many people in a single room. The court looks like a kabadkhana (garbage room),” the lawyer said.
“Not only there is no hygiene, the layers of dust and the stink from bathrooms has made our life hell. Every now and then we are told that we are moving to the new building but nothing actually happens. The authorities must announce a fixed date,” the exasperated lawyer said.