An air of uncertainty and a host of unresolved issues continue to haunt the Kalaburagi Bench of the High Court of Karnataka which has completed eight years of existence.
The decision to set up Circuit Benches of the High Court in Kalaburagi and Dharwad was taken by the then N. Dharam Singh government.
The United Progressive Alliance government accorded permanent status to these two Benches in August 2013.
However, the decision to include Ballari and Koppal in the jurisdiction of the Dharwad Bench and the delay in posting permanent judges and appointing permanent ministerial staff have led to an air of uncertainty.
“Natural justice demanded inclusion of Ballari and Koppal districts in the jurisdiction of the Kalaburagi Bench of the High Court of Karnataka. But for reasons best known to the authorities, these two districts, which were part of Hyderabad Karnataka region, were included in the jurisdiction of the Dharwad Bench,” Vilas Kumar, senior advocate and working president of the Hyderabad Karnataka chapter of the Indian Association of Lawyers, said.
Now, pendency of cases is more in the Dharwad Bench compared to the Kalaburagi Bench.
The number of judges posted in the Dharwad Bench is more than double of those posted in the Kalaburagi Bench.
Initially, the Kalaburagi Bench was sanctioned five judges and this was reduced to three a few years ago. The judges’ strength in the Dharwad Bench, which was seven a few months ago, has been reduced to six now.
No permanent judges or ministerial staff
There are no permanent judges or ministerial staff in both the benches though quarters have been constructed for them. The judges are now posted for eight weeks in rotation and a majority of the ministerial staff are posted for six months in rotation.
Owing to the shortage of judges, the Division Bench in Kalaburagi functions for only half a day every day.
The Bench was set up in Kalaburagi to dispose of cases at the earliest. But it is not happening and some cases, most of them civil cases dating back to 2005, are still pending.
Around 25,000 cases are pending in the Kalaburagi Bench now and around 60,000 cases are pending in the Dharwad Bench