SC refuses to entertain plea for setting up HP HC bench at Dharamshala

New Delhi, Jan 25 (PTI)┬áThe Supreme Court Wednesday refused to entertain a plea of an advocates’ body seeking setting up of a circuit bench of the Himachal Pradesh High Court in Dharamshala.

A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala, however, permitted the Kangra District Bar Association to take up the issue with the chief justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court for providing video-conferencing facilities to save lawyers and litigants the hassles of travelling all the way to Shimla for attending the court proceedings.

The top court said it cannot direct the high court to set up a bench at Dharamshala.

The advocates’ body argued against a concentration of all the circuit benches of the high court in a few areas.

If travelling is an issue, then video conferencing facilities may be sought, the bench said.

“The decision has been taken to set up additional courts to facilitate the convenience of litigants. Moreover, a direction for establishment of a bench for High Court cannot be entertained in an Article 32 (writ jurisdiction of the apex court) petition. Therefore, we find no merit in the petition. The petition is dismissed,” the order said.

During the hearing, the CJI lauded the efforts undertaken by Himachal Pradesh HC Chief Justice S Muralidhar for establishing video conferencing facilities in every district of the state.

“He (Justice Muralidhar) has decentralised the system and now there are benches in each district of the state. So, any district lawyer can appear through video conferencing in the High Court,” the CJI said.

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