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Lawyers of AP protest Jagan Govt’s decision of shifting High Court from Amaravati to Kurnool

Speculation over the State government’s purported plans to shift the Capital city from Amaravati to some other place has infused a sense of fear in the judicial circles that the High Court too may be moved to Kurnool, or less likely to Visakhapatnam, just as the Telangana government reportedly toyed with the idea of relocating its High Court to Budvel near Hyderabad, much to the chagrin of the local advocates.
 
The prospect of a change in the location of the High Court to Rayalaseema has made the legal fraternity apprehensive of its consequences, as the separate court started functioning from Nelapadu in Guntur district barely a year ago and is beset with a plethora of problems. Protests across the state have begun as a result of this chaos.
 
Problems galore
 
More than 50% of the sanctioned judge posts (37) remain vacant (the present number of judges is 13, including the Acting Chief Justice C. Praveen Kumar) and manpower crunch continues to affect segregation of over one lakh case files. The Guntur Bar Association (GBA) is opposing the idea of shifting the HC and a senior officer in the Department of Prosecutions maintains that it is a wild guess and that the government may at best give a HC Bench to Rayalaseema and retain the principal seat in Amaravati.
 
‘Ill-conceived idea’
 
GBA president Ch. Narendra Babu said that the government appeared to be of the view that shifting the HC out of Amaravati was a step towards decentralisation of the administration. But the idea, he said, was ill-conceived as the existing HC building was built at a cost of nearly ₹200 crore and the judges, judicial officers and thousands of advocates were just settling in Vijayawada-Guntur region.
 
In its general body meeting, the GBA resolved to abstain from work on September 9 in protest against the move, he said.
When contacted, an office-bearer of the AP High Court Advocates’ Association insisted that it was only a rumour, and there was no communication about it from the government.
 
‘Centre’s nod must’
 
All India Lawyers’ Union State secretary N. Srinivasa Rao said that former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu had assured the advocates that the principal seat of the HC would remain in the ‘Justice City’ and a Bench could be considered for Rayalaseema.
 
Mr. Rao said that Mr. Naidu had responded thus when they took to his notice the aspirations of the people of Rayalaseema to have the HC established in Kurnool, which was the Capital of united AP for three years. Nevertheless, any proposal to shift the HC needs the clearance of the Central government, the Supreme Court, and the HC itself, he observed.

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