Skip to main content

All PMs since Nehru, including Modi, set aside plea for High Court bench in west UP

By Sanjeev Sirohi*

Amidst frantic preparations for the bhumi poojan of Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya, the lawyers of 26 districts of West UP once again went strike on August 4, 2020 in protest against the gruesome murder of a fellow lawyer, Dharmendra Chaudhary, from Bulandshahr. Chaudhary was missing for 8 days. His decomposed body was recovered from a marble godown in Khurja area on night of July 31, 2020.
In the last few years West UP in particular, along with UP, have witnessed many murders of lawyers, and this explains why even UP Bar Council too had earlier called for boycott of work. West UP accounts for more than 57% of the total pending cases of UP and still both the Allahabad High Court and its single bench, just 200 km away at Lucknow, are both in Eastern UP. West UP along with Purvanchal and Bundelkhand, have been left high and dry!
The lawyers of West UP have been demanding a high court bench since Independence, but after India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru appeared not too keen to allow more than one bench in any part of UP except at Lucknow, which he created on July 1, 1948, we see no PM has ever dared insist on having more benches. When the chief minister of UP in 1955 recommended a high court bench in Meerut, Nehru expressed his reservations.
This became a major reason why the people of hilly areas started agitating vigorously for a separate state and ultimately achieved it after lot of violent protests and demonstrations.
When Indira Gandhi got the recommendation from Justice Jaswant Singh Commission for creating a high court bench in Aurangabad in Maharashtra, which already had 2 benches, at Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, which already had a bench at Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar, and for Madurai in Tamil Nadu, she gave the approvals.
But regarding the recommendation given to create three high court benches at Agra, Nainital and Dehradun, she decided that not have them. Rajiv Gandhi too continued this tradition even though he is said to be in favour of a bench in West UP.  Many UP Congress CMs, including ND Tiwari, recommended a high court bench for West UP, but it was never accepted.
As Opposition leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee vociferously demanded for the creation of a high court bench in West UP in 1986, but when he became PM in 1999 till 2004, he too decided to retract. Dr Manmohan Singh decided to create two more benches for just four and eight districts of Karnataka at Dharwad and Gulbarga respectively at a time when the state had a bench at Hubli, where pending cases are just about 1 lakh.
However, he also didn’t allow another bench UP where pending cases are more than 10 lakh, with West UP alone having more than 5 lakh pending cases. West UP’s population is 9 crore as against Karnataka’s 6 crore. UP’s population is more than 23 crore. Interestingly, Dr Singh had earlier assured a delegation of lawyers from West UP that he would allow a bench to be created. 
Things have not changed under Modi. He decided to create a bench at Kolhapur, taking the tally of benches in Maharashtra to 4. But as for West UP, he is silent
Things have not changed even under Narendra Modi either. He decided to create one more bench of high court at Kolhapur for just six districts, taking the tally of benches in Maharashtra to 4. But as for West UP, he has remained silent. No wonder, Maharashtra tops in the state index list for speedy justice and UP figures in the bottom.
Today, criminals are ruling the roost in UP and are making headlines. The kidnapping-cum-murder of a 28-year-old technician Sanjeet Yadav has already caused universal outrage. Criminals even took Rs 30 lakh from the deceased Sanjeet Yadav’s family, still they murdered him.
Prior to this we saw how a journalist Vikram Joshi was brutally killed right in front of his two daughters in Ghaziabad’s Vijay Nagar again in West UP. In Meerut, also in West UP, a mother and a daughter were brutally killed! The list of such criminal acts is endless. There is no fear of law in West UP among criminals.
The lawyers of West UP have been on strike uninterruptedly every Saturday since May 1981 till now, which means for more than 39 years, against denying West UP even a bench of high court. More than 9 crore people of West UP have to perforce travel more than 700 km on an average all the way to Allahabad to get justice, as the elected representatives have only made tall promises.
UP, the most populated state of India, has the highest number of districts of districts, 75; highest number of Lok Sabha constituencies, 80; maximum number of MLAs 404; maximum number of Prime Ministers, including Narendra Modi, who represents Varanasi; maximum pending cases (more than 10 lakh with West UP accounting for more than half of pending cases -- Justice Jaswant Commission noted these were about 57%); maximum number of judges in the high court, 160; and maximum number of vacancies of judges, including in the lower courts.
The state has the largest Bar Council in the world. Its former chairman Darvesh Yadav, the first woman to get appointed to this post, was murdered in the court premises in Agra, again in West UP. Having maximum poverty, maximum villages with more than one lakh population, the state has also witnessed maximum fake encounters killings, maximum custody killings, maximum dowry cases, maximum bride burning cases, maximum cases of human rights violations, maximum robberies, maximum dacoities, maximum undertrials, maximum cases of crime, loot, arson and riots.
Here too West UP tops with Saharanpur riots, Meerut riots, Muzaffarnagar riots tarnishing India’s international reputation to the extent that former UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon termed UP as “crime and rape capital” of India.
How long will the Centre ignore that the Allahabad High Court is the biggest court in the whole of Asia with maximum judges, and also among the oldest courts which completed its 150 years on March 17, 2016 yet has just one bench only?
As chief justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi while deciding on a PIL brought by a woman lawyer, KL Chitra, for a high court bench in West UP fully appreciated the reasons for setting up a high court bench in West UP, but added that it is for the Centre to take a decision. Yet, the Centre has failed to act.
Why shouldn’t Supreme Court take suo motu action and order for more benches not just in West UP but also in different parts like Jhansi in Bundelkhand, Gorakhpur in Purvanchal and other needy places? Why Supreme Court never acts on this? Why Bar Council of India never speaks a word on this?
---
*Advocate, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh

Comments

TRENDING

Economist-editor's allegations on Narmada defamatory, baseless: Medha Patkar

Counterview Desk  In a reply directly addressed to well-known economist, journalist and columnist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar’s two articles in the Times of India (republished here and here ), calling them defamatory and wondering whether they were borne out of “ignorance or a conspiracy through political alliance”, Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Pakar has said that the Narmada Sardar Saravar Project and the people's movement by adivasis, farmers, labourers, fish workers, potters and all the generations’ old communities from the river valley have suddenly come to be focused on, since the Gujarat elections are in the doorstep. She believes that while the “defamatory accusations with baseless conceptions such as ‘urban naxals’ are to be laughed at as the electoral strategic moves, one gets shocked to read the articles by a known old columnist like Swaminathan Ankalesaria Aiyar, published in a reputed daily like the Times of India." According to her, Aiyar’s two articl

Hindutva groups threat to peace, freedom: US diaspora groups tell FBI, other govt depts

By Our Representative  The Islamophobic and neo-Nazi ideology of Hindutva is a clear and present danger to peace and freedoms in the United States, a coalition of civil rights organizations told key officials of the U.S. Attorney General’s Office, the US Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at a recent event in Edison, New Jersey. At the event titled United Against Hate, activists from American Muslims for Democracy (AMD), Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR) and Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) made detailed presentations on this ideology of Hindu supremacism that is committing mass persecution of India’s Muslims and Christians and is rearing its ugly head in New Jersey as well as across the US. Attending the event were David S Leonardis, Special Investigator from the New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety; Michael E Campion, Chief of the Civil Rights Division for the US Attorney General's Office; and Jonathan R Norbut of the U.S. Dep

Facing tough times, Rajasthan's Raika herders hold first-ever camel cheese festival

By Rosamma Thomas*  During the pandemic, the annual Pushkar camel fair in Rajasthan did not occur for fear of contagion; in 2022, it was called off again as lumpy skin disease affected cattle. At Sadri in Pali district, however, festivity continues – a two-day Camel Cheese Festival was held on November 23 and 24, 2022. Visitors spent time with the camel herds and their Raika, drank camel-milk tea with the herders and then returned to lunch at the Kumbhalgarh Camel Dairy, from where the Kumbhalgarh Fort is visible, to taste camel cheese. The Raika herders have been facing a tough time – camels are no longer used as much for transport or agriculture in Rajasthan. The animals have limited utility, but their milk is prized. Camel Charisma, the dairy at Kumbhalgarh, sends camel milk across the country to people who use it in therapy – for autistic children, improved blood sugar levels, or even to treat cancer. It is believed that the health benefits of the camel milk is because the animals

As polls approach, electorate 'failing to realise': Gujarat model is in a shambles

By DN Rath*  Gujarat assembly elections, scheduled to be held on 1 and 5 December 2022, is viewed by many as dress rehearsal for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. When the suffering people have been pointing towards redressal of some local issues like absence of cleanliness, sewage problem, shortage of water supply, troubles created by stray cattle, insufficiency of streetlights, etc., it is evident that they are not fully aware that assembly elections are being fought on ideological standpoints and policy decisions. Nor is there the realisation that the state is in a shambles and the much-trumpeted ‘Gujarat model’ of development has proved to be a hoax. Like other states, the people of Gujarat are also back-broken by steep rise in prices to the tune of 400% in last 20 years. It is not that the government cannot control the spurt in prices if it so wants. Apart from the fact that price rise is an inevitability in a capitalist economy, artificial shortage triggered by massive hoarding, b

Shedding Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan? New Modi-Shah love for Tamil Nadu 'ignores' Periyar

By Sandeep Pandey*   The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) or the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) have long argued for ‘Hindu-Hindi-Hindustan’, which into recent years has translated into a crisper English expression: ‘One Nation-One Religion-One Language’. Given this backdrop, it is curious that the BJP government has organised the Kashi Tamil Sangamam in Varanasi, the Prime Minister’s constituency. Why did the BJP and RSS feel the need for such an event? All Narendra Modi events are highly publicised and have multiple political objectives. It is never an innocuous religious/cultural event as it may appear from the face of it. Afterall, RSS calls itself a cultural organisation, but has never ceased to surprise us with its political designs. Tamil Nadu has a long history of opposing imposition of Hindi by Union governments. Periyar EV Ramasamy had opposed the idea of compulsory teaching in Hindi as far back as in 1937. The 1960s witnessed violent protests against Hindi in which a number

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

GM mustard not swadeshi, it's a patent of MNC Bayer, GoI 'misleading' SC: Modi told

Counterview Desk  In a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as many as 42 farmers’ organisations though their representatives , backed by senior scientists and experts, have said that the Government of India (GoI) should stop misleading the Supreme Court “with untrue and incorrect” statements on GM mustard. Insisting that India does not need unsafe GM mustard, in their representation, they urged the Supreme Court to order immediate uprooting of GM mustard crop in various locations. The representation comes even as a penal of experts, coming down heavily on the GoI for refusing to see how in less than a week’s time the pollen from GM mustard will “start contaminating” non-GM mustard fields with transgenes, including male sterility and herbicide tolerant traits. Alleging that the GoI is actively misleading the Supreme Court with untrue and incorrect statements on GM mustard, Kavitha Kuruganti of the Coalition for a GM-Free India said, “We can list at least five areas where Gov

Demand to withdraw 'anti-environment, anti-adivasi' forest conservation rules 2022

By Gopinath Majhi*  The Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha, a coalition of adivasis and forest dwellers’ organisations, has sent a memorandum to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) raising serious concerns over Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022, notified by the Centre on June 29.  Contending that recent amendments and a host of executive orders/guidelines issued by the ministry undermine and dilute the FRA and threaten the rights of adivasis and forest dwellers, CSD demands that the 2022 FC Rules should be rescinded forthwith. Demanding withdrawal of such anti-people and anti-environment rules CSD Odisha organised a protest Dharana in front of State Assembly today on 25th November 2022 and submitted memorandums to the Hon’ble Governor of Odisha, Chief Secretary and Commissioner-cum-Secretary, ST & SC Development Department for conveying our concerns against the FC Rules 2022 to the Central Government for its withdrawal. The memorandums w

BJP poll gimmick? Bilkis Bano rape case 'pardon' vs Rajiv assassins' release

By Sandeep Pandey*  Supreme Court has released six convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. This was bound to happen as earlier AG Perarivalan was released in the same case, setting a precedent. Even though four of them are Sri Lankans but a popular Tamil sentiment favoured the release of these convicts which is why Tamil political parties supported this and resolutions were passed by different governments in Tamil Nadu to his effect.  Rajiv Gandhi paid the price of sending Indian Peace Keeping Force to Sri Lanka where it got entangled with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and eventually the whole operation ended up is a fiasco.  However, most importantly Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi and probably Rahul too do not have any objections to the release of these convicts. In fact, Sonia Gandhi played an important role in getting the death sentence of the only lady among the convicts Nalini commuted to life term through the Tamil Nadu Governor. Priyanka visited Nalini in Vellore Jail and

Never-ending saga of sin tax: What if murder is taxed at Rs 1 crore, rape at Rs 5 crore?

By Moses Raj GS, Sangeetha Thomas*  What should have ended by June 30, 2022 as a 5 year experiment has resurfaced. The government has extended the levy of GST compensation cess by another 4 years till March 31, 2026. This cess, dubbed as the sin tax imposed on sin(ful) goods, is double the highest slab on indirect taxes. But only a few pay for it and the majority benefit, unendingly. The year 2017 is a landmark year for indirect taxes. With the grand idea of ‘One Nation, One Tax’ as a fiscal slogan subsuming all State based taxes such as octroi /entry tax, Value Added Tax (VAT), sales tax, taxes on lottery, betting and gambling, luxury tax, purchase tax, entertainment tax, property tax, professional tax and central sales tax into a single framework of Goods and Services Tax (GST) changed the contours of revenue collection. Complicating it further, India, with each State having its own size and revenue problems, has the most complex and highly centralised indirect tax structure in the w