Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya could soon get their own High Courts that would help in quicker disposal of cases, save litigants time and money, and fulfil a long-standing demand of these states.
All the eight northeastern states, excluding Sikkim, come under the jurisdiction of the Gauhati High Court situated in Assam. It has benches in several northeastern states. Sikkim has a separate High Court.
“All necessary infrastructure for the establishment of separate High Courts is ready in three northeastern states — Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya,” a Tripura law department official said, not wishing to be identified as he was not authorised to make the announcement.
The Central government needs to amend the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971, to set up separate High Courts in the three states.
“The Union Ministry of Law and Justice, on persuasion from the three state governments, had finalised the draft amendment of the act,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Khagen Das, Lok Sabha member from Tripura, on Friday met Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi and demanded that the process of setting up separate High Courts in the three northeastern states be expedited.
“Chidambaram informed me that his ministry has referred the matter to the Union Cabinet for amending the necessary act. After the endorsement of the Union Cabinet, an amendment bill would be introduced in Parliament,” Das said.
Das, who moved a private member’s bill in the Lok Sabha recently, said that he had urged the Union Home Minister to expedite the matter so that the necessary amendment bill could be passed in the current session of Parliament.
“The demand for a separate High Court in Tripura has been vigorously pursued from 1987. The Tripura Assembly had passed unanimous resolutions requesting the Central government to set up a separate High Court,” said Das, a member of the central committee of the Communist Party of India-Marxist.
An all-party team from Tripura also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on June 8, 2008, over the demand.
For quick disposal of pending cases, the Gauhati High Court introduced in May video conferencing systems with its benches spread across six northeastern states.
The High Court, which was constituted on April 5, 1948, initially had its sittings in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong but shifted to Gauhati on August 14, 1948. It came to be known as the High Court of Assam and Nagaland on the constitution of the state of Nagaland on December 1, 1963.
On the re-organisation of the northeastern region by the North-Eastern Area (Re-organisation) Act, 1971, a common High Court was established for five northeastern states — Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura – and the two erstwhile Union territories (now full-fledged states) – Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh – and named as the Gauhati High Court.