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Business News/ Politics / Policy/  Chief justice T.S. Thakur steps in to settle court protests in Hyderabad

Chief justice T.S. Thakur steps in to settle court protests in Hyderabad

The demand for expeditious bifurcation of the high court of judicature at Hyderabad has intensified, leading to various protests by advocates and judges of lower courts

Telangana advocates holding placards at a protest in front of the high court in Hyderabad on Thursday. Photo: PTIPremium
Telangana advocates holding placards at a protest in front of the high court in Hyderabad on Thursday. Photo: PTI

New Delhi: Chief Justice of India (CJI) T.S. Thakur has stepped in to end the judiciary-led agitation in the high court in Hyderabad.

The Times of India first reported that the CJI was briefed by the acting chief justice (ACJ) of the joint high court for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states, Dilip B. Bhosale, on 2 July.

Protests by advocates and judges of lower courts demanding a quick bifurcation of the high court of judicature at Hyderabad have brought the judiciary in the shared capital to a standstill. Over 200 judicial officers are on mass leave since 30 June.

Advocates hailing from Telangana have been vociferous supporters of a separate state during the agitation for statehood, disrupting courts and boycotting work from 2009 to 2014. They have been demanding the division of the court ever since the state was split in June 2014.

Matters reached a head on 6 June when a majority of judges hailing from Andhra Pradesh opted to remain as judges in Telangana district courts. This miffed some Telangana judges and advocates who went on protest. 11 district court judges of Telangana origin were suspended last week by the high court.

A demand for recalling the ACJ came after lawyers owing allegiance to Telangana advocates’ joint action committee (JAC) were taken into preventive custody last week for protesting inside the court presided by the acting chief justice of high court.

On 3 July, The Hindu reported that a delegation of lawyers leading the agitation met chief justice Thakur in New Delhi. A person familiar with the developments, who did not want to be identified, said that the CJI stated that he would interfere only after the protests were called off. The delegation led by additional advocate general G. Prakash Reddy requested that no fresh appointment of judges be made on the basis of nativity till a final decision is reached on the bifurcation.

Meanwhile, another delegation of advocates led by Union minister Bandaru Dattatreya met law minister Sadananda Gowda, urging him to take immediate steps to resolve the issue.

The joint action committee is now demanding that the high court revoke the suspension of Telangana judges (of lower courts) and take back unilateral appointments of 130 Andhra Pradesh-origin judicial officers in Telangana.

“Most of judges at the lower courts here are promotee judges which means they will retire in a couple of years," Raviteja Padiri, an advocate of high court said. “Telangana lawyers believe they will get these positions if judges of Andhra Pradesh origin move to Andhra Pradesh. But even if Telangana has to choose new judges for the positions occupied by Andhra Pradesh-origin judges, it will have to conduct an all-India open examination, which is open to candidates from across the country," he said.

Essentially, Telangana judge aspirants will have to compete with an all-India pool, Padiri explained.

The high court is currently functioning at half its capacity with 25 judges when the sanctioned strength is 49. Only three out of the 25 judges are from Telangana, and 18 are from Andhra Pradesh.

Protesting lawyers have found support from the Telangana government, which has also been demanding a separate high court after the formation of Telangana state.

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Published: 04 Jul 2016, 10:58 AM IST
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