IMPHAL, April 7 – The sudden collapse of a decorated hall following rain accompanied by strong wind marred the formal inauguration of a hi-tech Imphal Bench of the Gauhati High Court here this afternoon.
The incident took place when the Supreme Court Judge Justice Altamas Kabir began to deliver his speech around 2.40 pm today.
“Everyone at the dais and those attending the function started coming out of the hall soon after the rain accompanied by strong wind hit the function,” said an eye-witness. Moments later, the entire hall which was assembled with GI sheets and bamboo poles collaspsed. There is no report of any casualty. Though the function concluded abruptly, there is report of functioning of the court at the new court complex after the incident.
Justice Altamas, Executive Chairman of National Legal Services Authority, who arrived here on Friday, had inaugurated legal aid clinics at Cheirap Court Complex, Uripok and Malom besides attending a workshop on role of legal services authorities in access to justice and juvenile justice.
Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh who also attended the inaugural function along with Speaker Th Lokeshwar and some Congress MLAs, left the function prior to the incident.
Those who attended the inaugural function included Supreme Court Judges Justice AK Patnaik, Justice Gyan Sudha Misra, Justice Jasti Chelameswar, Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court, AK Goel, Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh, Madan B Lokur, acting Chief Justice of Kerala, Manjula, former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir, and others.
Addressing the gathering, Ibobi said the Centre has been conveyed to set up a separate High Court for Manipur in a move to provide legal help to the general public.
“Setting up of a new High Court complex will pave way for a separate High Court in the State,” said Ibobi who assured that his government will extend necessary help.
Gauhati High Court Judge T Nandakumar said that though Imphal bench was opened in January 1972, it was inaugurated as a permanent bench on March 14, 1992.