Nainital: A number of advocates on Thursday protested here against the state cabinet’s in-principle nod to shift the Uttarakhand High Court out of the hill town and burnt an effigy of the government.

The protest was held outside the high court gates during which the lawyers shouted slogans against what they called ‘pahad virodhi sarkar’ (anti-hill government).

The protesting advocates also sent a memorandum to the President and the Chief Justice of India against the shifting of the high court. High Court Bar Association president Prabhakar Joshi said the association had appealed to the high court chief justice on November 16 not to take one sided decision on the matter.

However, no heed was paid to the request and a resolution was passed in the cabinet, he alleged. The advocates said the only major institution which was situated in the hilly region is also being forcefully snatched by the government, asserting that they are ready to fight a legal battle against the decision.

The state cabinet on Wednesday gave its in-principle nod to a proposal to shift the high court from Nainital to Haldwani at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. High court advocate and former MP Mahendra Pal said shifting of the high court will trigger a mass migration from the hills.

“Till now, 1,700 villages have become barren due to migration. Nearly 30 lakh people have left the hills. Moving the high court from the hills will deteriorate the conditions in the hills,” Pal said, adding that the reasons given by the government for shifting the high court are not appropriate. Rush of tourists in Nainital, its lack of space, and difficult geographical location are among the main reasons for the cabinet’s approval to shift the high court. The government also cited as one of the reasons that litigants have to spend more as Nainital is an expensive place. Apart from a large section of lawyers, the cabinet’s nod to the proposal has also not gone down well with BJP MLA Sarita Arya. Calling the move “impractical”, Arya said the decision was made without taking the opinion of advocates and businessmen in the city.

By Shadab

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