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29 Apr 2018

HC lawyers call off strike

TT, Calcutta: The lawyers' "ceasework" at Calcutta High Court was withdrawn on Saturday after four new judges were appointed and Acting Chief Justice Jyotirmoy Bhattacharya was made permanent.

Bar Association president Uttam Majumdar said that since four judges had already been appointed, its lawyers would join from Monday - 70 days after the protests began.

"On April 26, the members of various lawyers' bodies had resolved that soon after the appointment of at least four judges in the court, the ceasework will be withdrawn," Majumdar said on Saturday.

Over 14,000 members of three lawyer's bodies - the Bar Assassination, Bar Library Club and the Incorporated Law Society - had struck work on February 19 demanding filling up of vacant judge posts in the court.

While the protest continued, seven new judges were appointed - three of them last month and four earlier this week - taking the number to 34 against the sanctioned strength of 72.

More than 5,000 cases could not be disposed of during the strike, causing tremendous hardship to the litigants, sources said. Over 3.52 lakh cases are pending in the high court, a senior official said.

Justice Bhattacharya will be administered the oath of office on May 2 by Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathy. After that, Justice Bhattacharya will swear in advocates Biswajit Basu, Amrita Sinha, Avijit Gangopadhyay and Jay Senguta as judges.

"Our movement (ceasework) was to press for two basic demands - filling judges' posts and appointing a permanent chief justice. We are happy after getting a permanent chief justice. At the same time, we must request the Centre to send more judges so that the huge number of pending cases can be taken up as soon as possible," Bar Association secretary Amal Kumar Mukerjee said. "We are feeling bad for our litigants who had to suffer a lot due to the ceasework."

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