GUWAHATI, Aug 28 - The Bar Council of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim has warned of an appropriate democratic agitation if the Gauhati High Court and the five-judge committee constituted by it do not take positive steps for resumption of physical courts in the High Court and its subordinate courts by September 1, 2020.
Expressing its strong resentment over a notification from the five-judge committee that has deferred its decision on resumption of physical courts to the first week of September and has also extended the existing system of virtual courts till September 5, the Bar Council termed it a �unilateral� decision.
The Bar Council has submitted a representation to the committee demanding immediate resumption of physical courts by September 1.
It needs mention that the legal fraternity has been agitating against the prolonged continuation of the virtual courts in the Gauhati High Court in view of the COVID-19 situation. A number of advocates� associations and other court employees� bodies have been demanding reinstatement of the physical court system from September 1.
In order to examine the feasibility of resumption of physical courts at all levels in the State, the Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court had constituted a committee comprising five sitting judges of the High Court.
The �Committee for taking decisions for opening the courts or imposing restrictions on court functioning of the Gauhati High Court (Principal Seat) as well as the outlying benches and subordinate courts of Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh�, held a meeting with the Bar Council and other stakeholders on August 17.
�Different stakeholders had put forward their suggestions for resumption of physical courts at the earliest at the meeting with the judges� committee. Accordingly, the committee had stated that it would communicate its decision to the stakeholders by the end of that week (Saturday, August 22). As per the instruction of the judges� committee, the Bar Council submitted some modalities for reopening the courts, on August 21 for its consideration. Surprisingly though, the committee, without communicating its decision to the stakeholders, unilaterally issued a notification on August 21 and deferred its decision to September first week. Moreover, the virtual court system has also been extended till September 5, which has caused widespread resentment among the members of the legal fraternity,� HRA Choudhury, Chairman of the Bar Council of Assam, Nagaland etc., told The Assam Tribune.
The Bar Council has also expressed its displeasure over the fact that its suggestions were not taken into consideration while taking a final decision on the matter. It further alleged that despite an agreement over the issue, the stakeholders were not made a part of the decision-making process.
It urged the five-judge committee and the Gauhati High Court to take all future decisions regarding physical functioning of the courts after taking into consideration the suggestions of the Bar Council.