Having your High Court case heard in Mangalore itself rather than going all the way to the garden city knocking on the door of the revered red building opposite Vidhana Soudha is an option any citizen of Dakshina Kannada district would go with any day. In spite of it appearing more convenient, the concept has failed to evoke response from the men who matter.
Repeated appeals demanding establishment of a circuit bench of Karnataka High Court in Dakshina Kannada have failed to evoke response from the state government and if words from some of the members of the legal fraternity of the district are anything to go by, it is the advocates’ lobby in Bangalore which is acting as a hindrance in the purpose.
Speaking to Coastaldigest.com, S P Chengappa, President, Mangalore Bar Association, said that appeals to set up a High Court bench in DK district are being made from the past three-four years. It also featured in one of the resolutions passed after the Regional Advocates’ Conference organized by the Karnataka State Bar Council in Mangalore in April earlier this year wherein it was mentioned that the Chief Justice of Karnataka would be requested to constitute a circuit bench of High Court of Karnataka in DK district. “But there is no response in this regard yet”, says Mr. Chengappa.
Although a move that could benefit the people of the coastal district, the proposal is not being considered at the higher level owing to a ‘lobby’ of advocates in Bangalore, Mr. Chengappa says. “There is a lobby of advocates in Bangalore who do not want this system to come into existence. As of now, people have to go all the way to Bangalore and approach them (advocates) but if this system is implemented, they fear that their practice and base would be affected”, Mr. Chengappa reveals.
Such benches have already been set up in Gulbarga and Dharwad, discloses Mr. Chengappa. “Gulbarga and Dharwad already have High Court benches there. But unlike being specifically meant for these cities, they cater to two-three districts combined. We are also asking for something similar. The bench in Mangalore can cater to not just the district of Dakshina Kannada but also four-five surrounding districts. The idea is to have decentralization and it would also help us in reaching out to the poor litigants”, says he.
The decision to constitute a bench should first be taken by the High Court for the state government to act, according to Monappa Bhandary, MLC, spokesperson of the BJP, DK, and also an advocate himself. “It is a long process. The Chief Justice of the High Court has to first okay the proposal and then a recommendation is sent to the Government of Karnataka. If something like that comes up in Mangalore it is well and good. But unless there is a strong demand, chances of that happening are less. Mere requests won’t do. The Gulbarga and Dharwad benches have come into existence after a prolonged struggle of several years punctuated by strong protests. Unless similar protests and string demands are made from Mangalore, chances of the option being considered by the High Court are less”, he reveals.