High Court annexe building coming up on PWD land

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Aug 2017 14:35:27

Special Correspondent,

The extension of Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court Building has been planned at a sprawling land of Meghdoot Bungalow situated right in front of the existing High Court premises. Public Works Department (PWD) has prepared a plan of Rs 167 crore for constructing a spacious six-floor High Court building (East Annexe) to accommodate administrative offices, additional bar rooms for lawyers and space for other litigant-friendly projects.

Due to rapid expansion of legal literacy and rise in litigation, ever-growing number of lawyers of the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court are facing space crunch. More than 3,500 lawyers are registered members of High Court Bar Association, Nagpur but the present building of Nagpur HighCourt has space to accommodate barely 500 lawyers. 

The new building will be useful for next 25-30 years and provide ample space for legal fraternity. Highly placed sources claimed that the State Government has decided to provide 1.46 acres of land out of total 5.46 acre of land of Meghdoot Bungalow- dedicated to Chief Engineer of Public Works Department at Nagpur. This bungalow is situated exact opposite to High Court building. The land has been transferred to High Court for the purpose of extension of the building.

The new building will be having administrative wings as well as chambers for the lawyers. This will be ground plus six floor building with stone cladding. The building will be having solar energy system, rain water harvesting, and also follow the green building concept. It may have a terrace garden with ample parking space.  It may be mentioned that High Court Bar Association had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court regarding insufficient space for the lawyers and also raised the point of less parking space. The division bench headed by Justice Bhushan Gavai had directed Maharashtra Government to take action and latet agreed to transfer the land to High Court.

The State Government had assured to include the proposal of extension of building in the supplementary budget passed in July. However, it was not cleared in this supplementary budget as proposal was still pending with the High Court Building Committee. Then the matter will be referred to High Power Committee of the State Government headed by Chief Secretary for its nod. The committee has to clear any infrastructure project over and above Rs 5 crore.

Adv. Anil Kilor, President of the Bar Association confirmed the development and said, “We are waiting for the nod of High Court Building Committee. The Government has assured us to sanction the grants in supplementary budget during winter session.”  The High Court Bar Association had repeatedly demanded this land for construction of Bar rooms to accommodate more number of lawyers and litigants looking at the increased number of judges, litigations and flow of people and lawyers.

Since Government was reluctant to part with land and allot it to a private body, the High Court suggested that if the land could not be allotted to HCBA, it could safely be allotted to High Court registry for appropriate use. Since lawyers are inseparable part of administration of justice and are officers of the court, the High Court can then allot the same to association for use of officers of the court.

The existing bar rooms on North Wing annexe building of High Court were created in similar fashion and they were allotted to HCBA by High Court administration. However, during last one decade, it is noticed that existing chambers are inadequate for lawyers and there is virtually no space for litigants.