STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: Chief Justice (CJ) of J&K High Court N Paul Vasanthakumar who is going to retire on Tuesday expressed gratitude towards judges, judicial officers, advocates, media persons, and officers/officials of the High Court and State Government for cooperating and assisting him to discharge duties during his tenure as Chief Justice for over two years without fear or favour.
In the letter CJ said, “I assumed the office of Chief Justice on 2nd February, 2015. Everything was new for me including the food habits, climatic conditions and the local laws which are to be applied while deciding the cases. The members of the Bar assisted me in disposal of cases though initially I could not dispose off much cases because of nature of laws but within few days I could realise that there is not much difference between the State and Central laws except in certain areas and on noticing the pendency of more than 55,000 cases pending from 1995 onwards, I initiated the process of listing of old cases before the judges and considerable number of old cases including Full Bench matters were disposed off. I could dispose of more than 9350 cases including 5000 main cases only because of the cooperation and valuable assistance rendered by the members of the Bar including senior counsels D.C Raina, U.K Jalali, Z.A Shah, Sunil Sethi, P.N Raina, K.S Johal, M.K Bhardwaj, B.S Slathia and Advocate Abhinav Sharma. Advocate Generals, R. A Jan, D. C Raina and the present Advocate General Jehangir Iqbal Ganai as well as Senior AAGs including Seema Shekhar, S. S. Nanda, ASGI Sindhu Sharma, the Additional Advocate Generals and Deputy Advocate Generals have also given valuable assistance in disposal off cases and in particular old cases.”
CJ also noticed that out of 55,000 cases more than 6000 contempt petitions (10 per cent) of total pendency in the High Court, due to non compliance of the orders passed even from 2002. “Those petitions were also given priority in disposal and the contempt petitions which were pending before the Division Bench were mostly disposed off and the orders passed by the Single Judges, who demitted the office, were posted before the Chief Justice or Senior most Judge on every Friday and compliance of the orders were made possible to the maximum. The reason behind the aforesaid approach was that, unless the orders which were already passed are complied with, there is no meaning in passing fresh orders”, the letter reads adding that closure of 38 Mobile Magistrate/ Sub Courts, inspite of pendency of more than 15,000 cases in those courts was an erroneous decision and hence a suo-moto PIL was taken and the Courts were ordered to continue and now all these 38 courts have become permanent.
“I can vouch that the High Court functioned as a light house and when I came over here, the Statutory authorities, namely, Accountability Commission, State Human Rights Commission, State Consumer Redressal Commission, the School Fee Fixation Committee, Chairman Selection/ Oversight Committee under the Juvenile Justice Act, were not functional and through the orders passed on judicial side these Commissions are now in place except the State Consumer Redressal Commission which again fell vacant due to joining of its Chairman as Judicial Member of Armed Forces Tribunal in January, 2017”, the CJ added.
CJ further said that Press in J&K State is widely reporting orders/decisions of the High Court which is in a way spreading legal literacy to the common man. A vibrant Press and Bar are also essential for the proper functioning of the judiciary, he asserted. The CJ further said that though I am demitting the office as Chief Justice, I will try to uphold the Rule of law in whatever manner which I may decide in future. Meanwhile, Judicial Officers of Kashmir Division while bidding adieu to Justice N. Paul Vasanthakumar, Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir prayed to Almighty for showering his choicest blessings on him in all his future endeavours. They acknowledged his role and contribution as the head of institution with deep emotional touch. “Justice Vasanthakumar dealt with constitutional, civil and criminal matters in such a way that some of those are reported as the guidelines to subordinate courts. It was felt that the institution will definitely remember him for long”, the statement issued by Judicial Officers of Kashmir Division added.
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