KAT Bench in Dharwad Likely to be a Reality Soon - The New Indian Express

KAT Bench in Dharwad Likely to be a Reality Soon

Published: 03rd February 2014 10:23 AM

Last Updated: 03rd February 2014 10:23 AM

Six years after setting up High Court Benches in Dharwad and Gulbarga, the promise of establishing circuit benches of Karnataka  Administrative Tribunal (KAT) in Dharwad and Gulbarga has remained mere promises.

Even as the state government and the people of Hyderabad-Karnataka are celebrating the special status for the region, lakhs of state government employees and the legal fraternity of northern Karnataka are preparing to raise their voice to wake the government from its slumber. If Law minister TB Jayachandra walks the talk, Dharwad could soon have a KAT Bench. 

The issue of setting up circuit benches of KAT has been pending for about a decade. In August 2012, the then Registrar of KAT, S Saroja, in a letter to the department of Law, had advocated the need for setting up a KAT Bench in Dharwad.

According to the letter, there were 21,223 cases pending before KAT as on June 1, 2012, of which 5,080 were from Dharwad region and 2,472 were from Gulbarga region. The KAT Registrar had expressed the view that KAT Circuit Bench at Dharwad is a necessity and felt that setting up of a Bench at Gulbarga may not be feasible considering the low number of cases and high expenditure involved.

However, the proposal had met with a few hurdles related to logistics, suitable site for the Bench and co-ordination between various departments.

Production of records and instructions to heads of various departments and government advocates, all stationed in Bangalore, while filing petitions and hearing of the cases is not easy.

Finding a suitable building for the Circuit Bench, providing various facilities for the members and other support staff of the Bench were cited among the reasons for the delay.

However, president of Karnataka Government Employees Association L Byrappa is not convinced about the objections. “These are not at a problem in the present IT era where data transfer in any form is instantaneous and communication systems have eliminated the need for personal interaction. Where there is a will, there is a way,” he told Express.

Expressing his serious displeasure at the continued delay, B D Hiremath, president of Advocates Association of Dharwad High Court, said he is planning to stage a protest in front of Vidhana Soudha to remind the government of its promise.

He said government employees from northern Karnataka have to travel to Bangalore to fight their service-related cases. Successive governments have not lived up to their promise of decentralisation of power, Hiremath alleged.

“For instance, a grand Suvarna Soudha has been built in Belgaum, but there are no higher officials or departments functioning from there. It has become a waste of money,” Hiremath said.

When asked about the forgotten promise, Jayachandra assured that he is determined to see that the Circuit Bench is established during his term as the Law Minister.

“I am pursuing the issue. We have also identified office space for KAT Bench at Dharwad High Court complex. I assure the people of north Karnataka that a KAT Bench in Dharwad will be a reality within a few months,” Jayachandra said.

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