New Delhi: A bill seeking to set up separate High Courts in Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura was on Wednesday passed by the Parliament. The North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) and Other Related Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012, will pave way for creation of High Courts in the three north-eastern states by amending the North-Eastern Areas (Reorganisation) Act, 1971.

At present, the three states have benches under the Gauhati High Court.

Once the new High Courts are established, the number of High Courts in the country will go up from 21 to 24.

According to the Financial Memorandum of the Bill, the expenditure on establishment of the three HCs, including recurring expenditure, has been and will be borne by the respective state governments.

As of now, all the seven Northeastern states come under the jurisdiction of the Gauhati High Court with separate benches in Tripura, Meghalaya and Manipur.

Replying to the discussion on the bill, Home Minister P Chidambaram said, "I am deeply concerned over the delays in delivery of justice."

He said the total approved strength of judges in the 21 High Courts is 895 with 260 posts lying vacant meaning that there was less than one judge for every one million people.

He expressed happiness that the bill was paying attention to the Northeastern region which was generally "on the periphery of our sight" leading to a sense of alienation among the people of the region.

(Agencies)

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