The Bombay High Court on Tuesday said that the state government was “essentially denying justice to litigants” by delaying a decision on allocation of a new building for the high court.
This, the court said, was forcing litigants and judicial staff to continue work from the current 138-year-old building which has inadequate space.
A bench of justices AS Oka and MS Sonak directed the Maharashtra government to take a decision within the next six months on allocating space for a new, spacious high court building with all requisite infrastructure.
The court gave the above direction in its verdict on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer Ahmad Abdi that highlighted the need to shift the court premises to a new, more spacious building.
The bench noted that the current building was meant to house just around six to seven courts.
However, the Bombay High Court has a sanctioned strength of 94 judges and, at any given time, there are around 35 to 50 judges serving in court.
The current building doesn’t have adequate space for as many court rooms, chambers for the judges and lawyers, as well as for thousands of litigants who come each day.
It said the state had not disputed the fact that the current building was inadequate to accommodate the above.
“Even the state is not disputing the fact that there is a need for more space. By continuing the functioning of the high court from the current building, the state government is effectively denying access to justice to litigants,” the bench said.
It then directed the state to take a final decision on the allotment of new land, and construction of the new building and requisite amenities.
The state has proposed allocation of around six hectares of land in Bandra East for the new building.
The bench, however, directed the state to consider allocating an additional 11.68 hectares.