KOLKATA: Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court Manjula Chellur on Wednesday left the city for Bengaluru as the court became practically non-functional with a section of lawyers ceasing work citing the increasing heat. The CJ, along with Justice Joymalya Bagchi, sat on a division bench when the court opened in the morning but with lawyers not turning up at their courtroom till 11.45 am, Justice Chellur left and took an afternoon flight to her home city. She will resume work only on Monday.
A section of the lawyers belonging to the Calcutta High Court Bar Association, dominated by the ruling Trinamool Congress, have been demanding three more days of leave blaming the hot conditions though the court opened only on June 1 after the two-week summer vacation.
Questioning the frivolous excuse of the Bar Association, Justice Chellur asked the lawyers, “Why do you always ask for leave like school children? Are nurses and doctors not working in this heat? Are their workplaces centrally air conditioned? This is irritating and hurtful. Who should be held responsible for the suffering of the litigants?”
The CJ even permitted the advocates not to don their flowing robes if they felt uncomfortable due to the blazing mercury and humidity and plead their cases, but a section of the Bar Association remained adamant demanding leave for three more days.
Concurring with her, Justice Bagchi asked the lawyers demanding cessation of work, “Are traffic policemen and sergeants not working in this heat under the scorching sun? If taxi operators and drivers of public vehicles work, why can’t High Court lawyers attend court? If lawyers in subordinate courts can work in non-AC rooms, then what is your problem?”
Ever since the CJ took over a year ago, a section of the lawyers belonging to the TMC-dominated association has been at loggerheads with her since she wanted to put in place an effective work culture. She had pointed out that according to the Supreme Court directive, courts should function for a minimum of 210 days in a year.