Five-member committee to be headed by Justice K.M. Joseph

The constitution of a committee comprising five senior judges by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur to study the demand for setting up a High Court Bench in Thiruvananthapuram has revived hopes of establishing a circuit Bench in the State capital.

The committee, headed by Justice K.M. Joseph, will look into all aspects of the long-stand demand for the Bench in Thiruvananthapuram.

Three full court meetings of the High Court had earlier considered the request and rejected the demand for setting up benches outside the seat of the High Court.

The Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association has been in the forefront of the opposition to the move.

The High Court lawyers here had opposed the move saying that a Bench outside the seat of a High Court was not “legally permissible and has no constitutional sanction.”

Historic move: Tharoor

Staff Reporter adds from Thiruvananthapuram:

In a statement here, Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor said he was informed by the High Court Registrar General of the decision of the Chief Justice to issue orders for setting up the panel.

Mr. Tharoor said this was a historic move, and in the right direction. The government, he said, was currently spending around Rs.3 crore every year for its officials to travel to Kochi for cases in the High Court that the government was litigating.

Mr. Tharoor said he had met three former Chief Justices and four former Union Law Ministers in this regard. He, along with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, had also met current Law Minister Kapil Sibal recently.

The Trivandrum Bar Association and the High Court Bench action council too welcomed the move.

In a statement released here, Bar Association president K.P. Jayachandran and secretary Anayara Shaji said the State capital had all the infrastructure recommended for such a Bench by the Jaswant Singh Commission. It was hoped the new panel would take this into consideration and file a report that was positive for the capital city.

The Federation of Residents’ Associations, Thiruvananthapuram (FRAT) expressed hope that the government, without any political differences, would continue to pursue the setting up of the Bench here.

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