Supreme Court stays Uttarakhand HC ambitious relocation plan | India News

NEW DELHI: Supreme Court on Friday stayed Uttarakhand high court’s ambitious order that had rejected a 26-acre plot at Haldwani for relocation of the overcrowded HC complex at Nainital and sought an appropriate site from the state to construct a new HC building with 7,000 chambers for lawyers.
Appearing for Uttarakhand HC Bar Association, advocate P B Suresh with counsel Vipin Nair took a preliminary yet potent objection to the jurisdiction and power of the HC to direct shifting of HC’s principal seat, which can only be ordered by the President after Parliament passes a bill to that effect.
Before a vacation bench of Justices P S Narasimha and Sanjay Karol, they argued that HC had power to create circuit or permanent benches at different places in a state with prior approval of the governor concerned. As Centre through SG Tushar Mehta supported the bar association’s plea, the bench stayed the May 8 order of the HC.
The stay from SC comes two days before the May 26 hearing before a HC bench of Chief Justice Ritu Bahri and Justice Rakesh Thapliyal, which had directed the state chief secretary to locate suitable land for establishment of HC complex, residential accommodations for judges, judicial officers and staff, conference hall, chambers for at least 7,000 lawyers, canteen, parking space, along with good medical facilities. SC has provided for 700-odd lawyers chambers.
“This exercise shall be completed by the chief secretary within a month and submit a report to the HC by June 7,” it had said, while asking HC registrar general to put in motion a poll to seek opinions of lawyers and litigants on desirability of shifting the HC complex from Nainital.
The state had allotted 26-acre land at Golapur in Haldwani for shifting the HC complex. Finding the land to be surrounded by forest, which formed 75% of allotted land, the CJ-led bench had said the HC “does not want to uproot any of the trees to make a new HC.” The bench had asked the state to allot a suitable site at some other place.
Before SC, HC bar association in its plea through Vinod Khanna said the HC could not have ordered for an opinion poll as “only Parliament or Centre could decide on establishment of a principal bench of a HC in a state.” However, bar association of Dehradun supported the HC order and requested SC not to interfere with it as the HC complex is congested, making it difficult for lawyers, litigants and judges to function properly.

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