KOCHI: Notwithstanding the High Court’s letter to the Registrar General on the absence of counsel at the time of hearing of criminal appeals in cases, including sensational ones, counsel gave a miss to the Division Bench for the second consecutive day on Thursday.
Expressing displeasure, the Bench comprising Justice K T Sankaran and Justice B Sudheendra Kumar raised the issue soon after the sitting commenced in the morning. The Bench considered three criminal appeals and issued orders to inform the appellants on the non-appearance of their counsel. The Bench resumed its sitting after the lunch break.
Meanwhile, S Jagadees, Registrar General of the Kerala High Court, issued a notice informing that “If counsel for an appellant does not appear, the absence of counsel will be intimated to the appellant and the matter will be reported to the Bar Council of Kerala also.” Copies of the notice were sent to all Judges in the High Court, Registrar General (Judicial) and Joint Registrars. The notice was in keeping with the direction of the Bench.
The order stated that though 23 criminal appeals were listed for final hearing on Wednesday, not even the advocate for the first case listed was present.
Lawyers allege glitches in preparing the cause list to be uploaded on the High Court’s website. There is a printed cause list for every court. Interestingly, the weekly list of appeals was not uploaded till Tuesday morning.
K A Raju, an advocate clerk, said the cause list was not made available even to them. Usually, clerks attached to the offices of advocates, give updates to lawyers on the cause list.
The Kerala High Court Advocates Association president John Varghese said the association had not held any discussion as regards the observation of the Bench. “If an advocate comes forward with a complaint, the association will consider it after holding a meeting,” John said. A team, lead by John, held discussion with the judge after the lawyers skipped the sitting on Thursday. According to John, they are keen to resolve the issue amicably.