The Gauhati High Court (GHC) ordered the Deputy Commissioners of all the districts and the Chief Executive members of all the Autonomous District Councils of Assam to explore possibilities for providing accommodation to the judicial officers. The court ordered while taking cognizance of the acute shortfall in official quarters for the judicial officers serving in Assam, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Mizoram.
However, this direction will not apply to the districts of Lakhimpur, North Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Morigaon, Goalpara, Kokrajhar, and Baksa as there is no shortage of official accommodation there, the court added.
A bench comprising chief justice (acting) N Kotiswar Singh, Justice Manash Ranjan Pathank and Justice Suman Shyam observed that the situation in Assam is quite alarming to say as more than 72% of the judicial officers have not been provided official residential accommodation. The court also directed the DCs of all the districts and chief executive members of all the district councils to submit reports individually of the steps taken and proposals, if any, to deal with the issue.
The bench passed the order while dealing with certain important infrastructural issues which related to the awfully inadequate official residential accommodation for the judicial officers in the aforesaid states.
The court order further reads, “It also directed the Chief Secretary, Assam will himself monitor the actions taken by the Deputy Commissioners in the districts and the Chief Executive Members in the District Councils and submit an affidavit in this regard by the next date.”
“As far as the States of Nagaland, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh are concerned each of the Registrars of the respective benches are directed to furnish a detailed report reflecting the present status availability of official accommodation for the Judicial Officers and steps taken so far. Appropriate orders will be passed in the matter on receiving reports from the respective Registrars. The Registrar General to inform the Registrars of all the Outlying Benches accordingly,” the court said while fixing November 23 as the next date of hearing.
The bench mentioned the Shetty Commission’s recommendations that free government accommodation should be made available to the judicial officers.