As agitating lawyers play cricket in Pune, litigants left high and dry

Pune: A lawyers' agitation calling for a High Court bench in Pune has left litigants high and dry with more than two lakh cases being deferred in a span of nine days. The agitation has also resulted in financial loss of around Rs 4.50 crores as the sale of court fee stamps, E-franking and general stamp papers has totally stopped.

Lawyers' agitation in Pune enteres eleventh day Agitating lawyers outside the Pune court.

The "non co-operation movement" which started on June 19, has now entered its eleventh day on June 30. The lawyers are either protesting or playing cricket and carrom in the premises. On an average, around 300 under trial prisoners from Yerawada central prison are brought to court daily for their case hearing but to no avail.

Some young lawyers have come together and have formed a 'Rapid Action Force' who, with sticks in hand, convince other lawyers to be a part of the agitation.

The entire judiciary has come to a standstill in Pune district court which also include 102 courts smaller courts. The agitation was initially kick-started by Shivajinagar court but now lawyers practicing at Labour court, Family court, Green Tribunals, Industrial and other quasi-judicial courts have also joined the agitation.

Lawyers' agitation in Pune enteres eleventh day
Agitating lawyers outside the Pune court.

Litigant Amol Sathe from Mulsi said, “Our opponent in a land case has taken advantage of this strike and has encroached upon my land despite the matter still pending in court. I am running from pillar to post and had even approached the police but the outcome is zilch.

Senior lawyer Harshad Nimbalkar, Chairman of Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa, said, “The bar council is supporting Pune Bar Association lawyers' demand for High Court in Pune for which our members have also met the Chief Justice of Bombay High court. They will be hearing our lawyers' plea on July 7. But the Bar council is not supporting the agitation. The demand of Pune lawyers for a High Court Bench dates back to 1978 and accordingly in the same year Maharashtra State Legislative Assembly had also passed the resolution to grant Pune and Aurangabad the bench. However, Aurangabad has got the bench but we haven't."

Girish Shedge, President of Pune Bar Association, said, “High court bench in Pune is needed as many Central as well as State Government's important headquarters are in Pune. Our demand is not only meant for lawyers but it will also benefit the litigants. We will be continuing our non co-operation till the government fulfills our demand."

When asked about 'Rapid Action Force', where lawyer are forcing litigants to move out of court, he replied in negative and also claimed that they are not playing any games in the court premises.

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