Agartala, Nov 26: Three northeastern states -- Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya -- would get their own full-fledged high courts by next month as the required formalities are almost complete, an official here said Monday.
"The Supreme Court is expected to take a final decision about the chief justices of the proposed high courts within this week. After the appointment of the chief justices, there would be no major hurdles in setting up the high courts," Datamohan Jamatia, secretary, Tripura law department, told IANS.
He said: "The Tripura government already has all the necessary infrastructure to set up a separate high court in Agartala."
"We expect the new high court to be set up by December or January. Now it is up to the apex court and the union law and justice ministry to issue the necessary notification for the purposes," the official added.
Another senior official said Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, in a recent letter to the union ministry of law and justice, has requested the appointment of at least five judges in the new high courts so that divisional benches can function besides single benches.
The obligatory amendment of the North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) Act, 1971 -- the North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012 -- was passed by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in May, paving the way for the creation of separate high courts in the three states.
Then President Pratibha Patil had given her assent in June to the amendment bill, making it an act.
"Setting up separate high courts would help speedy disposal of cases, save litigants' time and money, and fulfill a long-standing demand of these three states. Administrative and developmental works have sometimes been held back due to timely non-disposal of pending cases," Jamatia said.
Currently, the six northeastern states of Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh have benches of the Guwahati High Court.
Sikkim has a separate high court.
Under the North-Eastern Areas (Re-organisation) Act, 1971, Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya became full-fledged states on Jan 21, 1972.
"In Tripura alone over 52,000 cases had been pending in different lower courts and 5,000 cases are awaiting disposal in the Agartala bench of the Guwahati High Court," the official said, adding that the necessary infrastructure was ready in all three states for the full-fledged high courts.
Lok Sabha member from Tripura Khagen Das, who had moved a private member's bill earlier for amending the necessary act to set up the high courts, said: "The 30 year-long-struggle for a separate high court in Tripura has finally yielded expected results."
"Following a series of mass movements, the Tripura assembly had first passed a unanimous motion requesting the central government to set up a separate high court in 1987," Das told IANS.
What was then called Assam High Court was constituted April 5, 1948, and initially had its sittings in Shillong, now the Meghalaya capital. It shifted to Guwahati Aug 14, 1948. Meghalaya become a full-fledged state Jan 21, 1972, along with Tripura and Manipur.
The court then came to be known as the High Court of Assam and Nagaland on the constitution of the state of Nagaland Dec 1, 1963.
On the re-organisation of the northeastern region by the North-Eastern Area (Re-organisation) Act, 1971, a common high court was established for five northeastern states of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura - and the two erstwhile union territories (now full-fledged states) of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh - and was named Guwahati High Court.