TWENTY-EIGHT years after it started to function in Pune, the family court finally got its own building Saturday when Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Manjula Chellur inaugurated the new premise in Shivajinagar. The building is adjacent to the existing District and Sessions Court premise near government godown.
The building was under construction for last eight years after the construction commenced in 2009. The work had stopped in 2011 owing to crunch of funds. Meanwhile, the court continued to operate from 7th and 9th floor of a rented premise in Deccan Area. The litigants and lawyers faced tough time there as the building did not have a parking space and lacked even basic facilities such as drinking water, clean toilets or elevators.
The estimated cost of the construction of the new complex was Rs 10.13 crore, which escalated due to multiple reasons. The final cost of construction of the building was Rs 16.67 crore, officials said. The newly constructed building consists of four floors with a total area of 7,700 square metres. The building has eight court halls and eight adjoining chambers for the judges; 15 chambers for marriage counsellors, two bar rooms for lawyers, a separate library for judges, meeting halls, a crèche for the children who would accompany the litigants, among other facilities. Two more floors are proposed, which will have additional infrastructure to meet the special needs of the family court.
Speaking on the occasion, Chellur said that having a separate premise with necessary facilities was important for a family court.
“Pune was the first independent family court in Maharashtra. And now, it’s the first to have such a nice, state-of-the-art building for a family court. I always feel that the needs of the litigants who come to a family court are much different that those who approach any other court. They are not seeking property or incarceration for anyone, they come here seeking peace and happiness. Hence, it’s a must that a separate premise is there for family court. Today, we are opening it up for the public in Pune and soon, with the help of the Government of Maharashtra, we will do the same in other cities,” said Chellur.
Fadnavis said he was pleased to see the way the new building has been constructed.
“The building breaks the old clichéd image about the government offices that they have to sport a depressed look. This one has all the facilities needed and has been designed keeping in mind the specific needs of the family court and those who would visit it,” said Fadnavis.
Revati Mohite-Dere, the guardian judge for Pune’s family court, Girish Bapat, the guardian minister for Pune District, Pune Bar Association’s Rajendra Daundkar, principal district and sessions judge S M Modak and members of Family Court Bar Association were present on the occasion.