Work at the district court (civil and sessions) in Thane came to a grinding halt with lawyers affiliated with the Thane District Bar Association abstaining from work in protest against the bifurcation of the civil and sessions court,that would benefit Bhiwandi.
According to association president Gajanan Chavan,the agitation was planned for a day,but was extended till January 12,after a demand from the lawyers. Recently,the Bombay HC had decided to upgrade the courts at Bhiwandi to sessions court and civil court senior division. This was after an agitation by lawyers at Bhiwandi in December 2008. At present,there are four courts and five judges at Bhiwandi,handling criminal and small civil cases,such as disputes over property having a value of less than Rs 1 lakh. If the values is Rs 1 lakh and above,the disputes come under the jurisdiction of civil court senior division at Thane.
The association is objecting to the move to bifurcate the district court. Advocate Chavan said,There are 30 courtrooms and 29-odd judges. Eight more courtrooms are under construction. After bifurcation,the courtrooms would be lying idle and the judges,the staff and the lawyers would find themselves with no work. Besides,he said,Bhiwandi was merely 17 km from Thane district courts. Chavan agreed that the common man and smalltime lawyers would be affected by their agitation. We have made a regular representation to the Bombay HC regarding our stand on the bifurcation. We feel this is the only way out, said Chavan.
At Thane district and sessions court,on an average,25-30 bail applications come up for hearing,while the sessions court hears about 30-odd cases. About 25 case are listed before the civil court senior division and 5-7 criminal appeals come up for hearing. The stir till January 12 is likley to create more backlog of cases. The SC had earlier ruled that lawyers cannot indulge in strikes or boycott court. Lawyers found violating the ruling stand to lose their licence. The Thane Bar Association is,therefore,abstaining from work and not boycotting court.