The advocates in the State, led by former advocates general, on Monday began a week-long relay hunger strike demanding the filling of nearly 62% of posts of judges in the High Court of Karnataka.
Former Advocates General B.V. Acharya, Uday Holla, Ravivarma Kumar, and Ashok Haranahalli, and several leading designated senior counsels have joined the protest, which began in a temporary enclosure in front of the golden jubilee gate of the High Court building.
They claimed that the Karnataka High Court had the least number of judges when compared to any other high courts in the country. It has only 24 judges, which is 38.7% of the total sanctioned strength of 62. The delay by the Supreme Court collegium and the Union government in appointing judges has affected advocates and litigants, with over three lakh cases pending in the HC.
Union Minister for Statistics and Programme Implementation D.V. Sadananda Gowda, who met the advocates, said such a situation should not have arisen. He assured them that the issue would be discussed with the Union Law Minister and the Prime Minister. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah along with Law Minister T.B. Jayachandra also met the protesters.
Later, the CM told reporters he would also take up the issue with the PM. Referring to the advocates’ claim that the Centre had recently cleared appointment of judges to various high courts, except Karnataka HC, based on the recommendations of apex court’s collegium, Mr. Siddaramaiah said such a move amounts to “step-motherly” treatment.
Advocates’ Association, Bengaluru president A.P. Ranganatha, Bar Council of India’s co-chairman Y. R. Sadashiva Reddy, and hundreds of advocates are taking part in the strike on rotation.