Construction of court complex near the Ernakulam District Court resumes

The construction work of the new court building coming up near the Ernakulam District Court complex here was restarted after it was stalled for about a month following non-payment of bills.

Work on several government buildings had been stopped by contractors in protest against the government not clearing their bills. “The construction of the court complex is on track and all bills have been cleared,” said an official. The six-storeyed building, expected to house the courts currently functioning out of the old buildings marked for preservation, has been under construction for about five years. The work is expected to be completed within the next few months.

Meanwhile, officials have started procedures to set up the 15 new magistrate courts and one evening court set to come up in different parts of the district. “Locations have already been identified for seven of the courts and work will be initiated to take them on lease. Buildings identified for four of the courts belong to various government agencies and can be used without too many formalities,” said an official. Court officials have also been asked to identify locations for the five other courts proposed.

A new court to try cases of the Central Bureau of Investigation is also expected to come up in the city soon with the State government having issued an order to open the court. The order, issued in December, directed officials to set up the court within 15 days of its receipt. Though the deadline has already passed, court officials said they were carrying out the processes quickly.

“We have forwarded the order to the Public Works Department, who are carrying out inspections and assessing the requirements for setting up the new court. But the building identified is a private structure and there are some procedures to be followed before setting up the court there,” said an official.

Officials have identified a building on Sadanam Road, currently taken on rent by the Civil Supplies Corporation, to set up the new court. Infrastructure for the new court, including furniture and other fixtures, will have to be put in place before the court can begin functioning. Officials said the staff allotment for the court was going on.

Once the new court is set up, Kochi will have three courts trying cases of the CBI. The Central government had announced in 2009 that 71 new courts would be set up across the country to try CBI cases. It had proposed that the number of cases handled by each court be reduced to 50 so that cases could be resolved faster. The two existing CBI courts in the city, however, handle more than 60 cases each.  Both courts also hear cases of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The CBI Special Court-I has been snowed under after it was given additional charge of hearing NIA cases in May this year.

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