Asseem Shaikh, TNN 16 November 2009, 05:44am
PUNE: After a gap of nine years, the district and sessions court has re-introduced morning courts to settle petty offences.
Four morning courts include three at the sessions court in Shivajinagar and one at the Pune Cantonment court. The court which started functioning from November 7 is presided over by special magistrate second class.
The concept of morning courts was introduced in Pune in 2000 to bring down huge number of pending petty criminal cases. However, the courts were disbanded after a year for administrative reasons.
However, the chief judicial magistrate in-charge of magistrate courts in Pune district has now issued an order to reactivate them, following a notification from the Bombay High Court.
Assistant superintendent of the Pune Cantonment court S C Darur said the district court had designated four court officials K R Adsul, D M Bansode, Ramdas Kadam and Ramesh Nandode as special magistrates to preside over the morning courts, which will operate between Monday and Friday, from 8 am to 10 am.
"Morning courts are an innovation that entail minimal extra expenditure. The beauty of it is that apart from disposing of petty cases like traffic rule violations, encroachments by hawkers, running shops without licence, running shops till late night, public nuisance and breach of peace, these courts will give young lawyers an opportunity to hone their skills," said senior lawyer Dnyaneshwar Bhusari.
"The magistrates will use the existing infrastructure and staff. The offices could open at 7.30 am and cases could be heard till about 10.30 am before regular courts start functioning at 11 am," Bhusari said.
Bhusari further said if an offender does not plead guilty, the magistrate can release him on bail and refer the case to the regular court for conducting a hearing.
Lawyer Sultan Inamdar, president of the Pune Cantonment Bar Association, said the morning courts have powers only to fine offenders who plead guilty under the Bombay Police Act, Cantonments Act and Bombay Provisional Municipal Corporation Act as they do not have power to conduct trial like regular courts.