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Too many takers for old high court building Friday, March 16, 2001
AHMEDABAD: Its one pie which all quake-struck government departments in the city are now vying for - the Old High Court building.
Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, which had constructed the building some 40 years back to serve as a children's hospital, is looking to shift some of its badly damaged offices to the building. But the 15 magesterial courts of Mirzapur , which are operating from just four rooms , too have sought space in the old court.
Interestingly , a large portion of the most sought after building has been badly damaged putting it beyond use. Even the double storeyed block, housing the four family courts, reveal signs of severe damage. All concrete pillars around the periphery of the building had to be treated with epoxy-resins, in a bid to hold the structure together.
The building was originally constructed by the AMC in 1961 but was soon handed over to the legal department for housing the Gujarat High Court when Gujarat was carved out of the erstwhile Bombay state. After the High Court shifted to its new premises over a year back, the quake-battered corporation now wants its building back for relocating its damaged offices.
According to senior AMC officials, one of the blocks (Cha as pronounced in Gujarati) of the commissionerate, has been put in the G 5 category - which implies it has to be demolished. "Since the old high court building was initially constructed by us we thought we will shift to it as we are in need of space," said a senior official of AMC.
But, the old high court is also being viewed as a temporary shelter for some of magisterial courts of Mirzapur. The courts are now operating from a few 'safe' structures of the demolished old district and criminals courts of Gheekantha, presently under going a complete rebuilding.
While the districts courts of Mirzapur continue operations with the judges holding sessions of only urgent matters, the 15 metropilitan courts of the same premise were operating from four rooms in Gheekantha , with six courts operating from one single room.
The AMC, on the other hand, was planning to reclaim the old high court building even before the quake after the high court had shifted to its new venue alongside the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway. "We were planning to set up a planetarium in the premises of the old high court" said the senior official. Even in the 1999-2000 AMC budget an allocation of Rs 50 lakh was also proposed for the planeterium.
As of now , both AMC and the metropolitan courts are vying for space in the building which ,according to the authorities, has very little space to spare as it was partially damaged during the Republic Day quake.
Almost two-third of the building is heavily damaged, with monstrous cracks all over the structures, and blocks of concrete showing detachments from the walls at several places.
The cellars at the Advocates Library block which used to house case records (some of which dates backs 1818) were certified unfit for use by the engineers and had to be shifted to the wing immediately neft to the Family Court block. The cellars' celings are now resting on blocks of wood provided to lend support to the damaged structures.
Senior officials of the state legal department ,meanwhile, said in all likelihood the metropolitan courts would given space to operate six of their courts in the family court block as their were a part of an essential service of society, rather than a planetarium. The department has also decided to shift four courts to the Agricultural Directorate officials asserted.
Officials of the High Court, who were monotoring day to day activities at the old high court building and other lower courts , said decision was still pending, stating that the application of AMC was also being taken into consideration.