Breaking | Lawyer's Plea Against Permanent Benches Of Karnataka High Court At Dharwad & Kalaburagi Dismissed

Mustafa Plumber

30 May 2023 4:22 PM GMT

  • Breaking | Lawyers Plea Against Permanent Benches Of Karnataka High Court At Dharwad & Kalaburagi Dismissed

    The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday dismissed a public interest litigation seeking to strike down as unconstitutional the orders establishing permanent benches of the High Court at Dharwad and Kalaburagi (earlier Gulbarga).A division bench of Justice B Veerappa and Justice K S Hemalekha observed that the benches had in fact rendered "distributive justice" to all the regions and thus, the...

    The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday dismissed a public interest litigation seeking to strike down as unconstitutional the orders establishing permanent benches of the High Court at Dharwad and Kalaburagi (earlier Gulbarga).

    A division bench of Justice B Veerappa and Justice K S Hemalekha observed that the benches had in fact rendered "distributive justice" to all the regions and thus, the petition serves absolutely no public interest.

    "The establishment of Benches at Dharwad and Kalaburagi ensures speedy and qualitative justice to the needy citizens of North Karnataka to their door steps, creates an opportunity to the many young advocates to excel themselves by assisting the Hon'ble Judges in achieving the object of justice delivery system and after establishment of Circuit Benches at Dharwad and 193 Kalaburagi, the accomplished advocates have been elevated as Hon'ble Judges of this Court and thereby, distributive justice has been rendered to all the regions. Therefore, the establishment of Circuit Benches - Permanent Benches at Dharwad and Kalaburagi has fulfilled the object of Preamble of the Constitution of India," it observed.

    The High Court had established Circuit Benches and later converted them into Permanent Benches by orders dated October 19, 2004 and June 4, 2008 at Dharwad and Gulbarga respectively. A Presidential Order dated August 8, 2013 was also issued confirming the same.

    Petitioner, a practicing advocate, argued that factually- the number of cases, filed, disposed of and the expenditure incurred in maintenance of these establishments are not conducive to the public interest. He also claimed that the benches affect functional integrity and unity of the institution of the High Court.

    It was also argued that suitability of continuation of the Circuit benches had not been ascertained and the then Chief Justice had not appointed any committee to ascertain the aspect of viability and sustainability of these two High court Benches and all of a sudden Circuit Benches were converted into permanent benches.

    Disagreeing, the High Court observed, “After going through the pleadings and material placed on record, it appears that this is nothing but to bring the tears in the eyes of poor and needy who are suffering from the violation of fundamental rights and starving for justice. Thereby, the PIL brought before this Court is either for personal gain of the petitioner or at the instance of somebody to ensure the struck down the establishment of the Circuit/permanent benches at Dharwad and Kalaburagi, deserves rejection at the threshold.

    The Union of India had opposed the plea saying establishment of permanent Benches at Dharwad and Gulbarga is a public welfare measure and it should not be construed as an investment for returns. Further, it was argued that there is no infringement of any fundamental right nor any scope for enforcement of fundamental rights in the writ petition and all the Courts exist for convenience of litigants and not for the Lawyers.

    The High Court administration contended that establishment of Permanent Benches at Dharwad and Gulbarga was as a result of need based demand and necessity of the people of northern Karnataka and later they were converted into permanent benches. Further, the establishment of High Court Benches is a policy decision taken as per the constitutional scheme. The very preamble of the Constitution of India mandates that all efforts be taken to render justice to a common man.


    Firstly the bench noted that the present writ petition came to be filed in May 2014, i.e. after lapse of more than six years of establishment of the circuit benches- and no explanation was offered to justify the inordinate delay.

    "The petitioner is a practising Advocate. As admitted by him, he is practising in High Court of Karnataka, principal Bench and also at Dharwad and Kalaburagi Benches. He was sitting on the fence for more than 06 years watching the establishment of Benches, enhancement of Judges and Staff strength. He woke up only when the Circuit Benches were made permanent Benches by the Hon'ble President of India on 08.08.2013 and filed the writ petition on 16.05.2014. Therefore, the petitioner is not entitled to any relief,” it observed.

    The Court also noted that the petitioner had not challenged challenged the recommendation made by then Chief Minister which was approved by then Governor of Karnataka and the Central Cabinet and Chief Justice of India. He had only challenged the order issued by the President in exercise of powers conferred under Section 51(2) of States Reorganization Act however, such power was not challenged.

    It observed, “In the entire writ petition, petitioner has not questioned the powers of Hon'ble President of India under Section 51(2) of the States Reorganization Act, 1956. In the absence of the same, the writ petition filed by petitioner is not maintainable and liable to be dismissed.

    High Court was also of the view that Chief Justice (of the High Court) is the master of roster and he alone has the right and power to decide how the benches of the High Court are to be constituted, which Judge has to sit along and which cases he can and is required to hear. Thus, it said, “There is nothing wrong in specifying that new cases arising from certain Districts shall be filed at a particular circuit bench, as those cases are to be heard and decided by Judges sitting at that circuit bench. Such an arrangement is for administrative convenience and advantage of the litigants.

    It added “After all, the Courts are meant for the benefit of litigant public and hence, their convenience should be the paramount consideration and not for the lawyers or Judges...the impugned notifications issued by the constitutional authorities are a positive and concrete step to achieve the goal of providing easy and less expensive access to justice to all."

    The court also noted  that except the petitioner, no other litigant or advocates practising within the jurisdiction of Dharwad and Kalaburagi- consisting of 12 Districts (110 talukas), had any grievance about establishment of Circuit/ Permanent Benches and none of the Bar Associations at Taluka and District places including Dharwad and Kalaburagi had any grievance.

    The bench expressed “Distance of the geographical areas, demography and other criteria and disparities in facilities, non fulfilling of the long time cherished desire of the people of northern Karnataka and greater anguish and frustration is not noticed by the petitioner and has filed the present writ petition against the "will of public at large," especially against the citizens of northern Karnataka, as the petitioner is the resident of Bengaluru...Without knowing the topography, problems faced by the public at large the present writ petition is filed for his personal glory and gain. Thereby, absolutely there is no public interest made out in the present writ petition.

    It also took note of the pendency statement which indicated that 58,586 cases were pending in the Dharwad Bench and 25,606 cases were pending in the Kalaburagi Bench. It observed,

    These figures clearly indicate that from the year 2008 till 28.2.2023, filing of both civil and criminal cases have increased in view of establishment of Benches in northern Karnataka. As the Courts came to their doorsteps, the awareness of legal rights has increased in the citizens of north Karnataka and accordingly, the litigants approached the Courts with great expectation for speedy and qualitative justice...The idea of speedy and quality justice dispensation system cannot be treated with status quoist approach. The consumers of justice expect prompt and effective delivery of justice in an atmosphere that is acceptable. Therefore, infrastructure enhancement will go a long way in strengthening the functioning of the court and would improve the productivity in the justice delivery system.””

    In this view, the Court dismissed the petition. It fell short of imposing costs on the petitioner given his age and previous track record. 

    Case Title: N P Amrutesh And Union of India & Others

    Case No: WRIT PETITION No.21879/2014

    Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 195

    Date of Order: 30-05-2023

    Appearance: Advocate V.R DATTAR, for Advocate N. K. SIDDESWARA for petitioner.

    Deputy Solicitor General H. Shanthi Bhushan FOR R1 AND R5.


    Senior Advocate S.S Naganand a/w Advocates S.G. PRASHANTH MURTHY, Sumana Naganand FOR R2 AND R3.

    Advocate Karthik Yadav U, for Advocate S.K Venkata Reddy FOR R6.; advocate Sona Vakkund for R7.

    Advocate D.C Parameshwaraiah for impleading applicant.

    Click Here To Read/Download Order

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