THE BOMBAY High Court Wednesday directed the state government to pay Rs 1 lakh to the Sangli Bar Association for delay in constructing a court building for the District and Sessions court.
The HC bench said: “We propose to quantify the costs at Rs 1,00,000, which will be payable to the petitioner (Sangli Bar Association) for utilising the same for the benefit of poor litigants. The petitioner may consider using the costs amount for setting up a permanent fund for providing legal aid to poor and needy litigants or for holding legal literacy camps in villages.”
The petition was moved by the Sangli Bar Association in 2015, stating that a proposal was mooted by the High Court administration for construction of a new building for the District and Sessions court at Sangli consisting A and B wing.
On August 1, 2016, the state government had issued a government resolution (GR), approving construction of the two wings and made a budgetary allocation for the same. According to the plan, Wing A was to be to be constructed by August, 2017 and Wing B was to be completed by December, 2018.
The court later granted time to complete the construction of Wing A by August 31, 2017. For the work of compound wall, internal road and landscaping, time was granted till March 31, 2018.
The bench said, “It can be safely said after the perusal of the orders passed from time to time that neither the orders of this court were complied within stipulated time nor the undertakings given to the court were abided by.”
The bench said the state government should offer to carry out additional work in the court for the welfare of the litigants or to provide additional facilities such as air-conditioning for the benefit of the litigants and/or for members of Bar. The court added that the state government has not come out with any concrete suggestion.
The bench said: “…it is only by way of indulgence and as a last chance, we propose to extend the time subject to payment of exemplary costs. In fact, this court would have been justified in issuing a notice of contempt to the state for committing the breaches of the undertakings given to the court.”