Hubballi: As the Dharwad High Court Bench celebrated its 10th anniversary on Saturday, it was a nostalgic day for 63 people who recalled being jailed for several days in Ballari jail for playing the lead role in the movement demanding setting up of the bench. They were detained on July 10, 2000, exactly eighteen years ago.
Now, they are upset as none of them were not invited for the anniversary function of the establishment of the bench. Expressing their displeasure against the Dharwad High Court Bar Association, these people are planning another grand celebration of the decennial event within a few days to draw the attention of the government to the need to provide basic needs including appointment of more judges.
The five-decade old demand for the Dharwad High court bench took the shape of a movement in 1991 with the agitation spreading to several districts of North Karnataka. The agitation intensified in 1996 under the leadership of then Dharwad Bar Association president B.D. Hiremath who undertook a fast for 19 days along with the boycott of court proceedings for more than hundred days.
Several organisations, writers, poets, farmers and political parties stood behind him in support of the agitation. A beautiful high court building has come up at a cost of more than Rs 200 crores but the absence of judges and other problems continue to haunt the legal fraternity and litigants.
“People of North Karnataka struggled a lot to get the High Court benches in Dharwad and Kalaburagi established. The Dharwad bench has disposed off around 2.75 lakh cases from eight districts coming under its jurisdiction in the last ten years. There are still more than 65,000 cases pending and there is an urgent need to appoint at least 5-6 more judges. Permission should be given to file PILs and cases related to company matters here as one has to approach the Karnataka High Court in Bengaluru for this purpose. The government should also provide funds for its library”, former president of Dharwad High Court Bar Association B.D. Hiremath said.
Though the circuit bench was established in July, 2008, the status of a permanent bench was given only in 2013. The advocates have also exerted pressure on the government to allot five acres of land for construction of individual chambers for them.