Lawyers to continue strike

Imphal, Dec. 30: The Imphal bench of Gauhati High Court will not resume work in the near future, with the high court lawyers gearing up for a protracted agitation over the demand for appointment of Manipuris as the judges for the proposed Manipur High Court.

Members of the Imphal bench of Gauhati High Court have been abstaining from work since November 8, demanding appointment of seven judges for a separate high court of Manipur and also appointment of only Manipuris as judges.

The lawyers' strike put a complete halt to all high court activities in the state.

The high court lawyers launched the agitation as the Centre was planning to open separate high courts for Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura and also following reports that there were moves to absorb existing judges of Gauhati High Court for a high court in Manipur.

The lawyers are also demanding appointment of at least seven judges instead of the four proposed for the Manipur high court.

Lawyers in Manipur said a high court could not function properly with four judges.

The high courts are likely to be opened latest by January next.

The High Court Bar Association, Manipur, reviewed its agitation on December 17 and decided to extend its agitation considering a lack of "positive response" from the Centre and the Okram Ibobi Singh government.

"We have not received any concrete response from the Centre and the authorities concerned on our demand. So, our agitation will continue until our demands are met," N. Kumarjit, the president of the bar association, told reporters today.

The bar association has convened a meeting on January 2 to review the course of agitation and responses from the Centre.

Kumarjit did not give any hint to the likely form of agitation to follow. But sources said they are likely to hold rallies and sit-ins.

A delegation of the bar association went to New Delhi twice in the past two months to meet Supreme Court Judge A.K. Patnaik, in-charge of high courts in the Northeast, and Union law minister Ashwani Kumar, to present its case.


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