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Calcutta High Court settles India’s oldest pending case 72 years after it was filed

The Calcutta High Court, India’s oldest high court, has disposed of the country’s oldest pending case after 72 years in yet another example of delays that plague the Indian judicial system

Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava was born a decade after the case was filed in 1951, a report by the Times of India has said. The case pertained to the liquidation of the erstwhile Berhampore Bank Ltd.

The court is still hearing two of the country’s oldest pending cases which were filed in 1952, the newspaper said.

Moneycontrol couldn’t verify the report independently.

The two cases are being heard in civil courts in West Bengal’s Malda. Hearings in the cases will be held in March and November this year.

The Berhampore case is also mentioned in the National Judicial Data Grid as the oldest one to be heard in any Indian court. The case started after the Calcutta High Court ordered the insolvent Berhampore Bank to wind up operations on November 19, 1948. A petition challenging the liquidation proceedings was filed on January 1, 1951 and registered the same day as “Case No. 71/1951”.

The insolvent bank was caught in multiple litigations to recover money from debtors. Many of these debtors moved court, challenging the bank’s claims.

Records cited by the Times of India said the petition challenging the liquidation order came up twice for hearing in September 2022 but nobody turned up.

On September 19, the assistant liquidator told the bench that the case had been disposed of in August 2006 but the information wasn’t updated in the records, ensuring that the case remained on the pending list.

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