KOCHI: It’s official. The proposed Judicial City, which will meet the future development requirements of the Kerala High Court and accommodate the Kerala Judicial Academy and Mediation Centre, will come up in Kalamassery. The project will see the relocation of the High Court complex from Kochi city to the 27 acres of HMT-owned land in Kalamassery that have been identified for the project.
The proposed HC building will accommodate 60 courts, and the overall facilities will cover 28 lakh square feet, designed to meet the future needs of the region. The complex will encompass offices for judges, the advocate general, chambers for lawyers, staff quarters, parking facilities, and amenities for women judges.
The Judicial City will also have bungalows for judges, staff quarters, accommodation facilities for lawyers and a mediation centre.
An agreement to establish the Judicial City was reached at a meeting attended by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Chief Justice Ashish Jitendra Desai in Kochi on Sunday. Officials said the proposal was first moved by the Kerala High Court administration to the government last year.
The CM said the Sunday’s meeting decided to initiate steps to implement the project in Kalamassery. A site inspection by HC judges and state ministers will be held on February 17. Law Minister P Rajeeve, Revenue Minister K Rajan, HC judges A K Jayasankaran Nambiar, AK Muhamed Mustaque and Bechu Kurian Thomas, and other top officials were also present at the meeting.
While the government has identified 27 acres of land for the project, more land will be acquired, if required. The objective is to establish state-of-the-art buildings and systems, including the academy and mediation centre, alongside the High Court, an official statement said.
60 courts, bungalows for judges
The proposed HC complex will accommodate 60 courts, and the overall facilities will cover 28 lakh sq ft. The Judicial City will also have bungalows for judges and accommodation facilities for lawyers.
Existing facility facing space constraints
HC authorities first came up with the proposal as the existing facility was facing space constraints. The annual meeting of the chief minister and chief justice held in Thiruvananthapuram last November reached an informal decision in this regard. Acquiring additional land adjacent to the existing HC building for the accommodation of judges and staff posed limitations. The pending notification of the Union environment ministry regarding eco-sensitive zones, coupled with the initiation of work for Exhibition City compelled authorities to seek an alternative location.
The meeting considered Kalamassery, taking into account the access and connectivity to the area. The chief justice had recently visited the land identified for the project. Meanwhile, the Kerala High Court Advocates Association (KHCAA) has come out against the move. “As long as the general body continues to have the opinion, the High Court of Kerala is not shifting to Kalamassery or elsewhere, irrespective of whether it is the chief minister or the law minister who is interested in this,” KHCAA president Yeshwanth Shenoy said.