Andhra Pradesh High Court dismisses PIL challenging transfer of cases from Rowthulapudi Mandal to junior judge Tuni

The Andhra Pradesh High Court dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed complaining that the cases arising from Rowthulapudi Mandal, which was earlier under the jurisdiction of the Junior Civil Judge, Prathipadu, had been unilaterally transferred to the jurisdiction of the Junior Civil Juge, Tuni, and the litigants in both the Civil and Criminal proceedings before the Junior Civil Judge, Prathipadu, face immense difficulty if the pending cases are transferred to the Court of Junior Civil Judge, Tuni.

The PIL has been filed by the residents of various villages of Rowthulapudi Mandal, Kakinada District.

It is the contention of the petitioners that by an order dated 06.09.2023 the entire Rowthulapudi Mandal had been transferred to the jurisdiction of the Junior Civil Judge, Tuni and that all pending civil and criminal cases from 21.04.2008 are being transferred from the Junior Civil Judge, Prathipadu to the court of Junior Civil Judge, Tuni.

The petitioner contended that such a unilateral and sudden transfer would cause immense difficulty to the litigant public.

It is also contended that a majority of the cases, which are sought to be transferred to the Court of the Junior Civil Judge, Tuni, are cases where proceedings have already commenced and are dealt with by the advocates of Prathipadu Bar and any change now would cause immense dislocation as the cases would have to be entrusted to the advocates of Tuni Bar and the said advocates would have to be given time to go through the entire file and records to represent the litigants.

The Division Bench of Chief Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice R. Raghunandan Rao noted that a judicial notification dated 21.04.2008, had been issued by the Registrar (Vigilance), High Court of Andhra Pradesh. This notification was issued under Section 15(1) and Section 21(1) of the A.P. Civil Courts Act, 1972 had reorganized the jurisdiction of various Junior Civil Judges in East Godavari District. Under this notification, the Junior Civil Judge, Tuni was given the jurisdiction over the Mandals of Tuni, Thondangi, Kotananduru and Rowthalapudi (which was then a newly created mandal).

The Court noted that the Superintendent of Police Kakinada had addressed a letter dated 27.07.2023 seeking allotment of jurisdictional Court, in relation to the newly established Rowthulapudi Police Station, for the purpose of prosecution of the cases pertaining to the newly established Rowthulapudi Police Station. Thereafter, the Principal District Judge, East Godavari District, had filed a report which showed that all the civil and criminal cases arising out of Rowthulapudi Mandal were still being filed and registered in the Court of the Junior Civil Judge, Prathipadu.

In view of this anomaly, instructions were sought from the High Court and the learned Administrative Judge had approved the proposal to transfer the cases from the Court of the Junior Civil Judge, Prathipadu, with effect from 21.04.2008 to the jurisdiction of the Junior Civil Judge, Tuni.

In view of these proceedings, it is clear to the Court , that the consequential order dated 06.09.2023 issued by the Principal District Judge, East Godavari District for transfer of pending cases from 21.04.2008 before the Junior Civil Judge, Prathipadu to the Court of Junior Civil Judge, Tuni is in accord with the initial notification dated 21.04.2008 and the said order is only to rectify the mistake of filing and consideration of cases by the Junior Civil Judge, Prathipadu in relation to Rowthulapudi Mandal, which is outside his jurisdiction. In the circumstances, it would not be permissible for continuation of existing cases before the Junior Civil Judge, Prathipadu.

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