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Work in the Calcutta High Court was paralysed today as a large section of lawyers did not turn up for proceedings despite it being a normal working day with the the Bar Association sticking to its stand of not attending court owing to a state holiday for Holi.

A division bench, comprising Justice Chellur and Justice Joymalyo Bagchi, expressing its displeasure at the lawyers’ absence, told West Bengal Advocate General Jayanta Mitra that it was the duty of the Bar (lawyers) to let the Bench (judiciary) work.

“What will you get by making litigants unhappy? Client is your God. They give you livelihood,” Justice Chellur observed.

“It is not a matter of pride that we keep the court closed because of your power,” Justice Bagchi said.

“Most of the youngsters are now going to corporate sector. This kind of environment at the high court pressurises them to think before they come into this profession,” Justice Bagchi observed.

A tussle had broken out between the chief justice and the Bar Association over holding of court proceedings today, a day declared as holiday by West Bengal government on the occasion of Holi.

The Bar Association had met the chief justice on March three and requested for a holiday today, reasoning that the state government has declared a holiday and several staff would not be available as they were state government employees.

The chief justice had told them a holiday could only be announced today if the Bar Association would agree to work on March 18, a Saturday or on any one of the days during either the summer holidays or Puja holidays, according to Association secretary Rana Mukherjee.

But the Association did not accept this proposal and decided not to attend court today.

In West Bengal, Holi is celebrated as Dol Yatra and this year was observed on March five which is a holiday declared by both the Calcutta High court and West Bengal government.

The tussle erupted over the state government’s decision to declare a holiday also on March six, which is a normal working day for the High court.

At least 2.5 lakh cases are pending before the Calcutta HC, many of which are pending for several years.

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