Millennium Post

Burden on the legal system

Let me begin by expressing my deepest displeasure over the callous manner in which Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) claim for more High Court Benches has been smirked at since 1947. This is completely unacceptable. By the way, it is UP and not Karnataka which tops among the number of pending cases and in UP, it is West UP which accounts for the majority of cases but still it has not even a single High court Bench.

My learned friend Anuj Garg, who is an advocate in Allahabad High Court, was at pains in pointing out that Justice Jaswant Commission report has not been implemented in establishing three High Court Benches in West UP – Agra, Dehradun and Nainital. He rightly pointed out that as Dehradun and Nainital have merged in Uttaranchal, two High Court Benches, can be created at two different places like Meerut and Aligarh, the third being at Agra. He said people think it is politician Jaswant Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who recommended this.

They are not aware that it is Justice Jaswant Singh, a former Supreme Court Judge and former Chief Justice of J&K High Court, who pioneered it. Here too its recommendations for establishing a High court Bench at Aurangabad in Maharashtra was accepted but West UP was wrongly deprived of the same. That UP has maximum population among all states, has maximum districts, sends maximum MPs and MLAs to the Parliament, has maximum constituencies, has maximum poverty, has maximum pending cases accounting for more than half of India’s pending cases and is also among the top few states with largest area but still only one Bench and that too just 150 km from Allahabad.
For just few districts of Karnataka, two High Court Benches have been created but for West UP which has 26 districts, not even a single Bench has been created as yet. Is this justified?

It is commendable that government has created High Courts for smaller states like Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura and is planning for Arunachal also but what about West UP? Why is it being ignored?                                                              
It is not for fun that even as I am writing this article, the lawyers of West UP are on strike demanding a Bench here since 13 August till 26 August and may even extend.
Earlier also lawyers have gone on strike for several months together but the Centre and state of UP are bothering a damn! This is just not done. Majority of districts of West UP are about 600-700 km from Allahabad and it is people  from the lower strata who suffer the most. Eminent criminal lawyer Anil Bakshi, who is former President of Meerut Bar and also present member of UP Bar Council, very strongly feels that a High court Bench must be created at the earliest in West UP and even after a Bench is created here, Allahabad will be left with 50 districts.

The lawyers of West UP go on strike every Saturday since 1981 to draw Centre’s attention but to no avail. This explains why it was decided to rally at Jantar Mantar on 26 August 2013 and press with their legitimate demand of a Bench here.
My friend Anuj Garg while quoting former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee said that, ‘The Centre without any recommendation from the state chief minister or chief justice of the state is empowered to set up a High Court Bench in West UP.’

According to the report of 230th Law Commission, High Court Benches all over India  should not be restricted to  just  Karnataka alone but also extend to  big states like UP, which has maximum number of pending cases. The earlier it is done, the better it shall be.
The author is an advocate
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