This will help clear backlog in three sessions courts

Two additional district sessions courts will start functioning in Mangalore and Puttur from April 1. These are among the 26 additional sessions courts being set up by the State government.

An official from the District Court said the two existing fast-track sessions courts functioning in Mangalore and Puttur respectively are being re-designated the District and Sessions Court. The new court in Mangalore will be called Fourth Additional District and Sessions Court, while the fast-track court in Puttur will be called Fifth Additional District and Sessions Court, the official said.

On December 28, 2012, the State government ordered setting up of 26 additional sessions courts in Bangalore, Bangalore Rural, Ramanagaram, Belgaum, Bellary, Chikballapur, Chikmagalur, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Gadag, Hassan, Haveri, Madikeri, Mandya, Raichur, and Tumkur. By this order the State government phased out many fast-track sessions courts functioning in these districts.

According to official sources, 800 criminal and civil cases pending before the Mangalore Fast Track court will be moved to the Fourth Additional District Court. Similarly around 600 cases will be shifted from the Puttur Fast-Track Court to the Fifth Additional Sessions Court, which will deal with cases pertaining to Puttur and Sullia taluks. The fourth District and Sessions Courts in Mangalore will be hearing cases from Mangalore, Bantwal and Belthangady taluks, the official said.

Setting up of two additional courts in the district has fuelled demand for a separate sessions court in Belthangady, which is at equidistance from both Mangalore and Puttur.

Advocate Subrahmanya Kumar Agartha from Belthangady said there was a need for an additional sessions court in Belthangady because the number of cases from the area going to the sessions court was greater than the number of cases from Sullia and Puttur. Setting up an additional sessions court in Belthangady cut time and expenses of litigants.

Ashok Ariga, president of the Mangalore Bar Association, however, feels the demand is impractical. “This will restrict the jurisdiction of the four district courts to Mangalore and Bantwal taluks. With the courts in Mangalore set to move to a new court building shortly, the jurisdiction of sessions courts here cannot be restricted only to two taluks. We have asked the government to continue hearing the cases from Belthangady in Mangalore,” Mr. Ariga said.

The official from the District Court said as of now there was no proposal to set up a separate court in Belthangady.

Standing counsels

The Principal District and Sessions judge Ashok Nijagannavar has begun the process of selecting advocates with five or more years of experience as standing counsels in the six district courts. The counsels will be representing accused who do not have any advocate in criminal cases. Mr. Ariga said 14 advocates from Mangalore Bar Association have applied for 12 posts. In a circular issued on January 22, Mr. Nijagannavar said the standing counsels will be for a term of three years .

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