Letter by Mathews Nedumpara to Chief Justice of Bombay High Court: Hon’ble Shri Dipankar Datta

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NATIONAL LAWYERS’ CAMPAIGN FOR JUDICIAL TRANSPARENCY AND REFORM

6.5.2022

To,

Hon’ble Shri Dipankar Datta,

Chief Justice, High Court of Judicature at Bombay,

Mumbai

May it please your Lordship,

Sub: Emergent reforms without which the justice delivery system, which is on the ventilator, cannot be saved

Ref: My letter seeking an audience with your Lordship and further follow-up with your Lordship’s private secretary.

1.            It is a matter of great satisfaction and joy to come across the notification dated 2.5.2022 issued by the Registrars of the Bombay High Court on the original and appellate sides, jointly, notifying the nomination of the Hon’ble judges to hear cases requiring emergent consideration. The said notification brings to an end the long-standing grievance/request of the bar for appointing sufficient number of benches/judges to hear cases during the vacation. The practice hitherto was to appoint two judges for hearing cases during vacation. The judges first sit in division to hear division bench matters and thereafter, when the division bench work is over, sit separately to hear single bench matters. This would mean the lawyers and litigants who come in large numbers being made to wait, sometimes till evening just for the division bench matters to get over and for the single bench matters to commence.

2.            Since I started appearing in the Bombay High Court as an outstation lawyer back in 2008, this has been the unfortunate practice. I made a grievance about it in the open court and wrote umpteen times, the last being during the last Diwali vacation. Your lordship’s decision to nominate more judges, though a small action of grace, is one of great relief so far as the litigants and lawyers are concerned. On my part, it is yet another instance that reaffirms my faith in the institution that if the legal fraternity takes up their grievances, instead of remaining silent, there will unfailingly be solutions. I express my gratitude once again for this act of grace.

3.            There are many meaningless formalities that the Bombay High Court continues to follow as if out of nostalgia for the colonial times. No petition can be instituted without the leave of the Court during vacation. The hapless lawyers and litigants have to reach early, at the zero hour and mention for leave to file. This process serves no purpose whatsoever at all, except to waste the Court’s time. The vacations are to start only on 9.5.2022. I hope my letter would reach your Lordship’s hands before that. In case your Lordship could issue a short notification dispensing with the requirement of the Court’s permission to file a case, a great amount of agony and difficulty could be avoided.  I am sure your Lordship would benevolently dispense with the said requirement.

4.            I part with in the hope that an appointment with your Lordship for a discussion as to the ways and means by which the judiciary in Maharashtra could work better, in the service of the common people, could be granted an early date. There are many issues in my mind, the top most being dismantling of the system whereby the High Court functions as two separate institutions, the Appellate side and the Original side, which serves no useful purpose at all and is only an avoidable malaise.

With most respectful regards,

Yours Sincerely,

MATHEWS J. NEDUMPARA

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