J&K HC Starts Working From Judge's Home

1 October 2014
Times of India
M Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: Chief justice of Jammu and Kashmir high court Justice M M Kumar on September 16th , 2014 established a make-shift court at a residential accommodation of his colleague judge after Srinagar wing of the state high court remained in suspended animation for ten days following the devastating floods in Kashmir valley on September 6, 2014. With only three rooms of government residential accommodation at Gupkar Road at his disposal, chief justice M M Kumar along with his colleague high court judges on 18th September, 2014 admitted large number of flood related public interest litigations (PIL) including the one, concerning the direction to various insurance companies to settle the insurance cases of the people who suffered losses during devastating floods in jammu and kashmir. 'After remaining in suspended animation for about ten days, I wanted that the high court as well as subordinate courts should start functioning at an earliest to make feel the presence of important limb of democracy i.e. judiciary in Kashmir valley ,' chief justice M M Kumar told TOI in an exclusive interview at his make shift court cum residence. Justice M M Kumar said that he was forced to send a hand-written letter to the governor N N Vohra for co-operation of the executive wing of the government in the smooth functioning of the courts in the valley in view of the huge destruction and havoc created by the devastating floods in the state. 'it was on September 9,2014 ,I took up the matter with the governor and the chief minister by sending them hand-written letters, suggesting that since justice cannot be kept under suspended animation for a long period, alternate building either at Hari Niwas or Nehru guest house or any other suitable place be provided for temporary functioning of the high court,' justice Kumar said. Interestingly, the unprecedented floods did not spare even Jammu and Kashmir high court complex with ten feet water submerging the court building while the subordinate courts were under 12 feet of water. 'The fury of flood was so intense that I had to vacate from my official residence at about 2.30am on September 6, 2014 along with my family taking few articles of day to day use and shifted to the official residence of one of my colleague judge at Gupkar Road tagged as M-5. Now the court is functioning from here,' chief justice Kumar pointed out. Chief justice Kumar said, the records in the lower court as well as in the high court are intact but some of the files have turned wet and my staff members with the co-operation of the Srinagar municipal corporation and Fire Brigade services are trying to dry up the wet files. 'However, all the principal district and sessions judges of concerned districts have been asked to assess the damage caused to the judicial records,' he said. The chief justice said, the court records from south Kashmir where the flood fury was more intense than any other area are intact barring in few courts. 'Wherever damage has been caused to the records, effective steps as per rules concerning the re-construction of record have been initiated or in the offing,' chief justice Kumar said. 'I was concerned about the judicial record because this would have gone a long way to obviate setting up false claims later by unscrupulous litigants or corrupt officials. The courts in most of the districts throughout the state are functioning as usual now,' he said.