Chief justices for 3 NE states

Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya will now have their own High Courts with chief justices. This leaves Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram the only states in the Northeast without separate High Courts.

Sikkim has a separate High Court. Upon merger in 1975, Sikkim became the 22nd State of India. Under Clause (i) of Article 371F, the High Court functioning immediately prior to the date of merger became the High Court for the State of Sikkim under the Constitution like any other High Court in the country.

The Supreme Court collegium has now recommended three chief justices for the proposed high courts in the northeastern states of Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya, officials said here Sunday.

The three high courts are likely to start functioning in March after completion of necessary formalities. “We have heard that the Supreme Court collegium has recommended the names of three chief justices to the union ministry of law and justice,” Datamohan Jamatia, secretary, Tripura law department, told IANS.

“Now the law and justice ministry through the prime minister would send the recommendations to the president for the appointment and notification of the three chief justices,” he said.

As per the suggestions of the Supreme Court collegium, Justice T. Meena Kumari, a judge of the Patna High Court, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, is being elevated as the chief justice of Meghalaya.

Justice Deepak Gupta, who hails from Himachal Pradesh is being elevated as the chief justice of Tripura, and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre, a judge of the Chhattisgarh High Court, is being appointed as the chief justice of Manipur.

The obligatory amendment to 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 2012, paving the way for the creation of separate high courts in the three states. With this, the total number of high courts in the country will increase from 21 to 24.

According to another official of the Tripura law department, the strength of judges in the Tripura High Court will be four, including the chief justice followed by Meghalaya and Manipur three each that will include the chief justice.

“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 official added.

Jamatia said the Tripura government has already made all the necessary infrastructure to set up a separate high court in Agartala.

“We expect the new high court to be functioning by March. Now it is up to the apex court and the union law and justice ministry to issue the necessary notification for the purposes,” he told IANS.

It may be mentioned that the demand for a separate high court in Tripura had been vigorously pursued from 1987.

The Tripura assembly had passed unanimous resolutions requesting the central government to set up a separate high court.