High court contemplating closure of Punjab’s first mobile court

DASUYA - The delivery of justice at the people’s doorstep in remote areas of Punjab could soon become a thing of the past with the Punjab and Haryana High Court contemplating winding up the state’s first mobile court set up nearly 18 months ago.

Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur Sunday said the high court would deliberate the utility of the mobile court and take a decision on its future.

‘It has not been a very successful experiment. But it should not be understood that the mobile court was started by my predecessor as the chief justice and stopped by the new chief justice,’ Thakur told the legal fraternity here during a meeting.

‘No decision has been taken on winding it up. It has its drawbacks. I assure you that I will take up this matter in the administrative committee and the full court. If winding up the mobile court is an option, we will decide. Or we will shift it to some other place.’

The Mukerian-Hajipur-Talwara belt of Punjab was the first and the only one to get the state’s first and the country’s second mobile court Oct 2, 2007.

The air-conditioned mini-bus, on which the court room was fabricated, cost the government nearly Rs.5 million (Rs.50 lakh).

The mobile court here started functioning after the first in Haryana’s remote Pulhana area of Mewat district became operational in Aug 2007. The mobile court concept was mooted by previous high court Chief Justice Virender Jain.

Thakur pointed out that the lack of success of the mobile courts in Punjab and Haryana could be seen from the fact that not even a single request for more such mobile courts was received from either state.

‘Personally if you ask me, I also feel that the mobile court concept is not conducive. If it had been popular, others would have demanded it too,’ he said.

The district bar association of Hoshiarpur and lawyers from Dasuya have been complaining to the high court that the mobile court was creating more problems for litigants and lawyers rather than being a facility.

‘You people know about the experience of the mobile court. You only can tell whether it was a success or not,’ Thakur said.

Bar Association president Narinder Singh Hundal said that the air-conditioned mobile court lacked all facilities.

‘There is no space for lawyers or litigants to sit. The whole vehicle vibrates when the generator is on and computers don’t function properly,’ Hundal told IANS.

The mobile court here catered to five blocks in Hoshiarpur district comprising nearly 300 villages, 250 km from state capital Chandigarh.

The court - set up under the slogan ‘Reaching the Unreached’ - was aimed at taking up civil and criminal cases and had all regular powers of a judicial court.

Thakur admitted, ‘The association says that the mobile court is neither comfortable nor convenient for the litigants and the lawyers. The work of lawyers was also suffering as they had to reach far off places for mobile court hearings.’


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