Justice delivers, lawyers won't

Calcutta, Jan. 21: When Calcutta High Court chief justice A.K. Mishra started hearing cases in Court No. 1 this morning, a messenger approached him and conveyed a verbal message.

The message: The bar association ' a body representing over 5,500 lawyers in the high court ' has held an emergency meeting and adopted a resolution, according to a lawyer.

The resolution: Lawyers will skip the courts to mark 150 years of the country's oldest high court.

Justice Mishra was getting a taste of the Bengal work culture, less than 24 hours after a group of lawyers had failed to persuade him to declare a holiday today.

Soon after the message was conveyed this morning, the chief justice noticed that one of the government pleaders had stopped midway through his submission. Justice Mishra enquired what the matter was.

The pleader replied: "The bar association has taken the decision of not attending the court. How can I defy the decision?"

Most lawyers left the courtroom, although the number of pending cases had crossed 3.6 lakh at the last count.

Justice Mishra then sent a wider message on work culture, not through words but through his deed.

"The chief justice spent at least one-and-a-half hours in the courtroom after that and cleared several pending cases, which did not require the presence of lawyers in the courtrooms," said a court source.

At times, some cases get stuck because of technical reasons despite completion of hearing and the judge can dispose of these cases in the absence of lawyers.

By seeking to clear as many cases as possible, Justice Mishra was trying to follow what he had said when the year-long celebrations of 150 years of the high court ended yesterday in the presence of President Pranab Mukherjee.

"Karma (work), the main theme of the Vedas, should be the motto of the judiciary," Justice Mishra had said amid a huge round of applause from lawyers.

After the programme at Netaji Indoor Stadium ended, some members of the bar association met Justice Mishra and requested him to declare a holiday on Monday.

A source said the chief justice informed the lawyers that he was keen to keep the courts open.

Soon after taking charge of the high court on December 14, Justice Mishra had indicated that he was against stalling work in courts. Following a proposal from the association that the lawyers would not work during a felicitation programme to honour him, Justice Mishra had asked: "Should we write that to honour a CJ, we will not work?"

This morning, the lawyers, however, convened the emergency meeting and passed the resolution. The content of the resolution was conveyed through messengers to different judges, who had already started hearing cases in different courtrooms, and texted to lawyers.

"Such unnecessary declaration of holidays is unique to Calcutta High Court and this should stop…. Litigants are the biggest sufferers for such action on the part of the bar association. The image of the country's oldest high court suffers because of such poor work culture," said Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya, a senior member of the bar.

He added that the association had suspended him for attending court during a ceasework called by it. "But the Supreme Court gave its verdict in my favour and the association had to induct me," he said.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »