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Pendency of Cases Should Not Deter Citizens From Approaching Courts: Bombay High Court Acting CJ SV Gangapurwala

Pendency of cases should not deter citizens from approaching courts offor justice, Bombay High Court Acting Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala said on Saturday.

The judge, who was recently recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium to take over as the Chief Justice of Madras Hight Court, said that he is not worried about docket explosion and judges in India are competent to deal with it.

“Docket explosion and rise in pending cases, I am not worried about that. Our judges are competent to deal with it. I am worried about ‘docket exclusion’. People should not feel that because of such pendency, they will not be heard, their matter will not reach. Because of such pendency of cases, citizens should not stop coming to court for seeking justice, my advice is that,” the judge said. 

He also added that access to justice would not be possible without proper infrastructure.

“Access to justice is a paramount requirement, and it would not be possible without proper infrastructure” the judge exclaimed.

In his speech, Justice Gangapurwala also suggested lawyers and judges to encourage parties to resort to ‘alternative dispute resolution’ which is also one of the means for parties to get justice.

“Alternative dispute resolution is one solution and that would help us a lot in solving the problem,” he stressed.

The judge was speaking at the inauguration of the new Magistrate and Bombay City Civil & Sessions Court complex in Mazgaon, Mumbai, where he was the chief guest.

The event took place outside the building after the judge was given a tour of the features and facilities of the building. 

“Looking at this building it doesn’t seem like it is government building,” the judge said in a lighter vein.

He expressed hope that the new building will be witness to proficient arguments and cross examinations. 

He also advised lawyers, members of bar associations and judges to maintain cordial relations for dispensation of justice.

“It is important for lawyers to remember they are not just agents of the client, but they are officers of court. I request members of bar and judges to have cordial relations for dispensation of justice.” the judge said.

Justice MS Karnik, parent judge for lower courts in Mumbai, informed the audience that work for the new building had started way back in 2012.

The earlier building in Mazgaon had become dilapidated and was vacated in 2013 after Bombay High Court ordered its evacuation.

The Mazgaon Bar Association filed a petition before the High Court and despite several orders, the demolition took place in 2016.

The construction for the new building began in 2018 and will start functioning from April 24, Monday.

It has 42 court rooms, out of which 21 are assigned for Metropolitan Magistrate courts and 21 are assigned for City Civil and Sessions Courts.

The new building has modern facilities and amenities for lawyers and litigants.

The decor and art inside the complex was planned and curated by Bombay High Court judge, Justice Revati Mohite Dere.

Justices Sharmila Deshmukh and Neela Gokhale were also part of the building committee headed by the ACJ.

The new building spread across 33,500 sq.ft and 17 floors will be the tallest court in Mumbai and possibly Maharashtra.

It would be fully air conditioned with amenities like bar rooms for lawyers, well-stocked and updated library, convenient filing and storage system and provisions for e-filing.

It was informed during the event that from Monday, the original 11 metropolitan magistrate courts which initially used to sit at Mazgaon before moving to Sewree due to the demolition of the earlier Mazgaon court building, will now shift back to Mazgaon.

Additionally, three metropolitan magistrates from Mumbai’s Ballard Estate court will also be shifting to the new building.

Metropolitan Magistrate Court at Mazgaon Mumabi.

Metropolitan Magistrate Court at Mazgaon Mumabi.

While there is no formal notice about the shifting of any City Civil and Sessions Court, the bar association at Bombay City Civil and Sessions Court has passed a resolution opposing shifting of courts from the Fort court complex to the new building in Mazgaon.

A city civil lawyer told Bar & Bench that lawyers are opposing the proposal as the new building is far from the High Court complex where most civil lawyers keep frequenting.

The lawyer also pointed out that most lawyers have their offices set up around the Fort complex.