Protest by lawyers disrupts NH traffic

Ghaziabad, Noida hit as lawyers seek separate HC bench for western Uttar Pradesh.

Lawyer unions demanding a separate bench for western Uttar Pradesh took to the streets on Friday, disrupting traffic for hours along National Highway 24 in Ghaziabad, large sections of Ghaziabad city and parts of Noida.

Lawyers from district courts in Ghaziabad, Noida, Meerut and several other places congregated at Hindon Bridge on NH-24 around 10.30 am and blocked the arterial road that connects Ghaziabad with the national capital.

"Extensive traffic arrangements were in place and extra personnel were deployed. Still, traffic crawled for hours because the arterial road was blocked. We tried to reduce the load from the highway by rerouting vehicles through Noida Sector-62, but even the roads there got choked after a while," a senior police officer said.

Other than the highway, the blockade affected traffic on roads leading to Mohannagar Chowk, and several streets in Indirapuram, Vaishali and parts of Noida Sector-62.

There were over 200 lawyers on the bridge, demanding a separate bench of Allahabad High Court in western UP. They dispersed around 4 pm after district authorities and police officers accepted their letter, listing their demands, to President Pranab Mukherjee.

"This has been a longstanding demand. We don't necessarily want a High Court bench in Ghaziabad. It can be anywhere in western UP. Most of our cases go to the High Court and the distance to Allahabad is a big problem for those contesting these cases. Moreover, a separate bench would open new avenues for lawyers of sessions courts in the region," Rakesh Tyagi, a lawyer from the Ghaziabad district court, said.

"Today's programme was held to send a message to the Central government," he said.

Rajeshwar Dutt Tyagi, spokesperson of the High Court Action Committee, said the demonstrations were not limited to Noida and Ghaziabad. "Judicial work in more than 10 districts came to a halt. If the demands are not met, there will be more protests," Tyagi said.

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