HC lawyers extend ceasework, create ‘record’ of longest strike in its history


Metros, Kolkata

The high court at present has 33 judges, even as the sanctioned strength is of 72 judges.

Calcutta High Court

Kolkata: Lawyers’ associations at the Calcutta high court on Thursday set a record of the longest strike in its history by extending their ceasework, making it a over two month long agitation, over demands of appointment of judges.

Compounding the plight of thousands of litigants, the Bar Association took a resolution to extend the ceasework till April 25 on the ground that the authorities concerned have not appointed any new judge or a permanent chief justice to the high court despite the two-month long agitation.

The high court at present has 33 judges, even as the sanctioned strength is of 72 judges.

High Court Bar Association president Uttam Majumdar said with no tangible results despite the agitation, the ceasework had to be extended by another week.

“With this extension, this will become the longest strike in the history of the Calcutta high court,” he said.

The lawyers’ associations began the ceasework demanding appointment of judges from February 19 and has been extended several times. The previous longest strike was of 2 months in 2002 in protest against hike in stamp duty by the West Bengal government. It was observed across all courts in the state including Calcutta high court.

After Thursday’s resolution, the extended period would cross the two-month mark. Mr Majumdar said the decision will be reviewed by the association members on April 26.

The Bar Library Club also extended the ceasework in solidarity by  another week.

Meanwhile, thousands of litigants, many of whom have urgent cases before the high court, are at their wit’s end with no solution to the present impasse in sight.

A few petitioners are appearing in person to plead their cases, but most litigants are unable to plead their matters owing to legal intricacies and complex laws and their interpretations.

Apart from the litigants, hundreds of people indirectly associated with the high court for their livelihood are also suffering owing to the long ceasework.

From typists and photocopiers to food vendors and tea sellers - many people are finding it difficult to make ends meet.