Meghalaya High Court opens

Chief Justice lights inaugural lamp, promises speedy delivery of justice

(From right) Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir, Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma and Union law minister Ashwani Kumar at the inauguration ceremony in Shillong on Monday. Picture by UB Photos

Shillong, March 26 :
Think legal + Think local = Justice.
This is the condensed logical position that could be arrived at from what the series of speakers had to say after the Meghalaya High Court was formally inaugurated here today by the Chief Justice of India, Justice Altamas Kabir.
Everyone made it a point to urge the first woman Chief Justice, T. Meena Kumari, and her team to take into consideration local traditions, culture and understanding while embarking on their endeavour to deliver quality justice.
“The operationlisation of the high court will bring justice to the doorstep of the people if we ensure an overall and an expeditious justice, and justice according to the traditions of the people, according to the realities of this area,” Union law minister Ashwani Kumar said in his address.
Kumar’s words set the tone for other speakers, including Meghalaya chief minister Mukul M. Sangma and Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir, who echoed him.
Chief Justice Meena Kumari had been administered the oath as the first woman Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court by Governor Ranjit S. Mooshahary on Saturday. She is also the first woman Chief Justice in the Northeast.
Meghalaya, along with Manipur and Tripura, got their separate high courts after the Northeastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971. The Northeastern Areas (Reorganisation) and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012 was passed by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha in May 2012.
Today, the Meghalaya High Court became the first of the newly inaugurated high courts to become functional.
Congratulating the people of the state, the Union law minister also said, “It is a historic moment because from 1972 when Meghalaya was created, there has been a persistent demand from the people of this region to have their own high court.”
He also expressed hope that the Meghalaya High Court would become a shining example of the independence of the judiciary and stand out by the the quality of justice that will be rendered to the people of this area.
Turning to Chief Justice Meena Kumari, the Union law minister said, “You should be truly proud today because you are the first lady Chief Justice in this part of the country. But let me take this opportunity of telling you that in the ultimate analysis the quality of justice, the quality of judgment and the quality of advocacy is what will make you proud and what will make the people of Meghalaya proud.”
Echoing Kumar, Chief Justice of India, Justice Kabir, said, “There are different systems prevalent here, which need to be integrated, and with the coming into operation of the new high court here, I think it will go a long way in trying to fulfil these aspirations.”
He said the people of the Northeast have their own special rules, laws, traditions, customs, and that provisions have been laid out in the Constitution for preserving the culture and traditions of the people of the region and other states. Stating that for the first time, without any gender bias, a woman Chief Justice in the Northeast has been appointed, Justice Kabir expressed optimism that Justice Meena Kumari will be able to do justice to the state and to the problemsbeing faced by the people here.
“There will be more access to justice and various forums that will be available with the inauguration of the high court here today,” the Chief Justice of India assured.
Pointing out to a young boy in the large gathering, he said, “I can see a little young man here. He is a symbol of what the Meghalaya High Court will be after 10 years, 15, years, 20 years. We are looking to the future, and we need to think of the future.”
Meghalaya chief minister Mukul M. Sangma said there are local customs which are governed by local traditional laws and also the peculiar and exclusive land tenure system.
“There will be a need for all our friends in the judiciary to be enlightened on the intricacies of these laws. This will help us in the administration of justice and the disposal of cases,” he added.
Justice Meena Kumari sought the cooperation of the people and the bar.
“I hope I will be able to do something and bring justice to the doorsteps of the poor. We will need the cooperation of the people and the bar to ensure that the high court functions smoothly,” she said.