KOLKATA: The ongoing ceasework by lawyers at the Calcutta High Court demanding appointment of judges to fill up the huge number of vacancies was today extended till March 16 by representative bodies of advocates.
Alleging a 'lackadaisical attitude' by the Union Law Ministry in meeting their demands despite work at the high court remaining shut for the last two weeks, Calcutta High Court Bar Association president Uttam Majumdar threatened to go for stronger agitation if appointments were not made.
At present there are 30 sitting judges at the high court, while the sanctioned strength is 72.
Out of this, two judges preside over the Circuit Bench at Andaman and Nicobar Islands on rotation.
"A general body meeting of the Bar Association decided to extend the ceasework till March 16 and a meeting will be held on March 19 to decide on the next course of action," Majumdar said.
While the Incorporated Law Society also extended the ceasework till March 16, the Bar Library Club had yesterday taken a resolution to continue the agitation till March 13.
"We have also decided to send a copy of the resolution taken today to the bar associations in all the courts in West Bengal and to request them to hold a day's ceasework in solidarity on March 16," Majumdar said.
All the three associations representing lawyers at the Calcutta High Court had decided to go for a week-long ceasework from February 19, which had been extended by another week till yesterday.
The associations have claimed that the Union Law Ministry has not responded to their joint representation to meet the Law Minister to discuss the issue.
"The lack of any response despite the over two week-long ceasework at one of the premier high courts in the country displays the ministry's lackadaisical attitude and high-handedness," Majumdar said.
Incorporated Law Society secretary Paritosh Sinha said that despite the Supreme Court having cleared the name of Acting Chief Justice J Bhattacharya for appointment as Chief Justice nearly two months back, there has been no action in this regard on the part of the central government.