Kolkata: The Calcutta high court would sit on Saturday, to hear old criminal appeals as desired by the Chief Justice of India to clear pending cases.
A division bench comprising Justices Joymalya Bagchi and Rajarshi Bharadwaj will take up 17 such appeals in old criminal cases filed in 2010 or before.
While one of these appeals was filed in 2005, another was filed in 2007 and five others in 2008, according to a list released by the high court administration.
Two of the appeals to be heard on today by the high court, which functions from Monday to Friday, were filed in 2009 and the rest were filed in 2010.
Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Mishra had in September written to the chief justices of all high courts expressing desire that the high courts constitute special benches to hear old criminal appeals, in which legal aid has been provided, on Saturdays to reduce the huge pendency.
There were 2,23,261 cases pending before the Calcutta high court as on October 31 this year, of which 39,643 are criminal appeals, according to its website.
Calcutta high court Bar Association secretary Amol Mukhopadhyay, however, opposed the move to hold hearings on Saturdays, saying the members of the bar want that vacancies in the judiciary be filled up first.
“There are only 33 judges at the high court against a sanctioned strength of 72 judges. We want these vacancies to be filled up and then we are willing to work on Saturdays,” he said.
He said a resolution has been passed at a general body meeting of the bar association stating that its members would not participate in the hearings on Saturday or on any other Saturday until their demand for filling up the vacancies in judiciary is met.