By J. Venkatesan
NEW DELHI, MARCH 22. A special leave petition was today filed in the Supreme Court against a Madras High Court judgment upholding establishment of a Bench of the Madras High Court in Madurai and seeking stay of its inauguration on April 13.
The SLP filed by advocate, K.V. Mohan, is to be `mentioned' tomorrow for early hearing considering the urgency of the matter.
The petitioner, R. Suresh Kumar, Chennai-based lawyer, contended that materials showed that steps to start the Bench were being initiated without a notification. It was not clear how many districts in Tamil Nadu would be brought under the jurisdiction of the Bench. Further, it was not clear whether the cases pending in the High Court would be transferred to the new Bench. Also, no allocation of subjects was made.
He said the High Court while rejecting his petition on March 11 did not address these vital issues involving the interest of the general public and gave its approval for the establishment of the Bench, though it noted that mandatory legal requirements were not followed.
The petitioner contended that the High Court failed to consider that establishment of a High Court Bench under Article 214 of the Constitution read with Entry 78, List I, VII Schedule of the Constitution, was a function exercisable by Parliament alone. Also, it failed to take notice of the fact that without legislative sanction a huge amount was spent from the Consolidated Fund of the State. The entire exercise was kept in the dark and even a April 18, 2000 Full Court resolution came to light only during a hearing of the petition.
Even a Circuit Bench under Clause 31 of the Letters Patent Act with the consent of the Governor could not be made, as administration of justice by the High Court and the Supreme Court vested with the Centre.
The petitioner said the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court announced that the Chief Justice of India, V.N. Khare, would participate in the inauguration of the Bench. It was not desirable to inaugurate it without deciding the issues involved in the petition, he said and prayed for quashing the impugned judgment.
An interim injunction to restrain the Centre, the Tamil Nadu Government and the Registrar, High Court, from proceeding with the inauguration of the Bench was also sought.
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