No Business To Deny West UP Even A Single HC Bench

I find nothing on earth more shocking than this that Uttar Pradesh which has the maximum population, maximum number of pending cases, maximum number of undertrials in all age groups, maximum lawyers all over the world, maximum Judges in all Courts and what not and still has just one High Court Bench only created 76 years ago at Lucknow which is so close to Allahabad High Court and nowhere else.

What really saddens me most to note is that West UP which owes for more than  half of the total number of pending cases of UP and for whom Justice Jaswant Singh Commission headed by former Supreme Court Judge recommended two High Court Benches at Nainital and Dehradun in hilly areas of undivided UP which now form part of Uttarakhand and so also a Main High Court Bench at Agra and yet not a single High Court Bench created anywhere due to which litigants of West UP have to travel whole night and half day all the way not even till Lucknow which falls 230 km earlier than Allahabad but right uptill Allahabad which in itself is the biggest injustice for which Centre is fully culpable and Maharashtra which already had multiple High Court Benches at Nagpur and Panaji was gifted one more as recommended at Aurangabad and so also for Jalpaiguri in West Bengal for few districts and at Madurai in Tamil Nadu which is the most brazen, blind, brutal and baseless discrimination that was perpetrated by Centre itself who had appointed this Justice Jaswant Singh Commission to decide where all the High Court Benches should be set up as maximum demand came from Uttar Pradesh especially West UP and so Centre cannot ever exonerate itself on one pretext or the other for having turned a blind eye to the huge inconveniences faced by the litigants in travelling all the way till Allahabad which is more than 600 to 800 km from most of the districts of West UP.

My point is simple, short and straightforward: Centre had just no business to deny West UP even a single High Court Bench knowing fully well the ground reality and then passing the buck to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh or Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court or Governor of Uttar Pradesh which is nothing but a false canard that has been certainly spread most intentionally!

I have just no hesitation to say that it was the bounden duty of the Apex Court and Allahabad High Court to speak out most vociferously against the merciless denial of even a single High Court Bench to West UP and other parts of undivided UP which was the biggest injustice perpetrated with impunity. Let us not forget that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Supreme Court must definitely feel most terribly ashamed for doing just nothing on ensuring that more High Court Benches were created in Uttar Pradesh especially the Western region and so also in lawless Bihar where there is not even a single High Court Bench! It thus merits no reiteration that the Apex Court definitely cannot escape from its responsibility to have mediated on this most sensitive issue and cannot escape its responsibility by acting like Centre and kicking the responsibility on someone else and watching everything like a helpless, hapless and hopeless spectator.

It is definitely most disappointing to see that even after more than 77 years of independence we still see that no party ruling in Centre has ever cared for the endless woes of the litigants of West UP which they have been facing due to the most despicable, dastardly and derisive stand of Centre to not allow even a single High Court Bench in whole of West UP or even in whole of UP even though former Mumbai Commissioner of Police and former Union Cabinet Minister in PM Narendra Modi’s regime Dr Satyapal Singh very strongly pitched his voice right inside Parliament a few years back in support of two High Court Benches for West UP at Meerut and Agra and in addition also demanded High Court Bench in Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Jhansi!

As if this was not enough, former PM late Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee himself demanded High Court Bench for West UP at Meerut in 1986 as Opposition Leader in Parliament and still till now with half of 2024 vanishing, we still see no High Court Bench set up anywhere not just in West UP but in whole of UP except the one at Lucknow created way back in 1948 so near to Allahabad where High Court is located! Centre’s firm determination to help the “poorest of the poor” litigants can come to fruition only by the creation of more High Court Bench in needy regions like West UP, Purvanchal and Bundelkhand!

To top it all, even former Union Law Minister and incumbent President of Supreme Court Bar Association – Mr Kapil Sibal as Law Minister of India very strongly recommended for High Court Bench in Meerut as disclosed by another the then Union Minister – Mr RPN Singh but yet we saw nothing translating on ground which I find truly most incomprehensible!  

It must be asked: Why can’t Centre think out of the box and take bold initiative in this regard to hammer out a permanent solution on setting up of a High Court Bench in West UP? There is no prima facie reason to justify the denial of even a single High Court Bench to West UP! It is definitely no secret whatsoever of any kind that Centre has most unscrupulously and so also most unabashedly demonstrated utmost extreme partiality in not allowing even a single High Court Bench anywhere other than in Lucknow even after nearly 80 years of independence!   

In one line I would like to say: It is completely preposterous to deny or rubbish the most legitimate claim for a High Court Bench in West UP. The one stop solution for all the endless problems that litigants of West UP are facing since independence till now 77 years later is creation of a High Court Bench in this region and nothing else. Of course, the earlier Centre realizes this, the better it shall be for the people and in particular for the litigants of West UP!  

Many term Allahabad High Court as the biggest High Court in the world still why it has just one Bench only and why so many smaller States like Karnataka whose population is about 4 crore less than West UP at 6 crore whereas West UP alone has 10 crores population yet we see two High Court Bench created in one go by Centre in 2008 at Dharwad and Gulbarga for just 4 and 8 districts only but not a single for 30 districts of West UP with population of more than 10 crores for which even Justice Jaswant Singh Commission in mid 1980s recommended a permanent Main High Court Bench but yet not one created and Maharashtra which already had multiple High Court Benches was given one more as recommended at Aurangabad but for undivided UP for which maximum 3 Benches were recommended not even a single Bench  was most mercilessly allowed to come up in any part of UP! These bone chilling facts just cannot be swept inside the carpet and reflects the raw, rotten and ruthless discrimination perpetrated on North States like UP, lawless Bihar and Rajasthan!

It is high time that Supreme Court must stop watching everything like a helpless, hopeless and hapless spectator and take suo motu cognizance as it has done in so many other cases under Article 142 of the Constitution and promptly order Centre to create a High Court Bench in West UP as was recommended also by Justice Jaswant Singh Commission headed by former Supreme Court Judge and not leave the more than 10 crores people of West UP at the whims and fancies of Centre to take its own sweet time to decide what it wants to do finally on this!

I really just can’t fathom that why the hell on earth has this worst form of most atrocious discrimination between different States in allotment of Benches been perpetrated with impunity with most peaceful States like Maharashtra topping the latest “Justice Index Ranking State List” which is also the home State of incumbent CJI Hon’ble Dr DY Chandrachud and which has maximum High Court Benches and so also Karnataka which has multiple High Court Benches and UP which owes for maximum pending cases has just one and West UP which owes for more than half of the pending cases has none and so also another lawless State Bihar whose population is more than 15 crores has none and so also Rajasthan has just one!

Only Supreme Court knows best that why it has tacitly given the thumbs-up to this most worst form of atrocious discrimination perpetrated so blindly, brazenly and brutally in creation of Benches in different States and what is most jaw-dropping to note is that even now we still see just no action being taken on ground to make the requisite course correction of any kind in this regard despite India celebrating its 75th year of “Republic Day” so pompously some months ago which is really most frustrating to see! Why policy makers never flag such a serious issue to Centre is most saddening and truly incomprehensible?

It has been more than 14 years since the 230th Report of the Law Commission of India was submitted prepared under the Chairmanship of eminent former Supreme Court Judge and jurist Dr AR Lakshmanan but still it has not been most unfortunately implemented in big States like UP, Bihar and Rajasthan. Why Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka with just 7 and 6 crore population have multiple High Court Benches apart from High Court and West UP with 10 crore population has not even a single Bench?

It must also be asked: Why has Bench remained elusive for West UP for such a long time? Why is Centre demonstrating so much of obduracy in addressing it? Why West UP which owes for more than half of the total pending cases of UP  has no High Court Bench? What is the point in denying West UP even a single Bench when it owes for more than half of the total pending cases of UP and High Court at Allahabad is so far about 700 km on average for which Justice Jaswant Singh Commission also recommended strongly a Bench? What keeps on running in my mind most of the time is: Why is Centre so hell bent in denying West UP even a single Bench due to which the lawyers of West UP had gone on “total strike” on January 18, 2024 just like umpteen number of times in past also?

It is no ordinary thing that for 6 months in 2001 and in 2014 the lawyers of West UP had gone on 6 months strike for Bench and for two to three months also many times and so also one month hunger strike in 1976 and strike also continuously from May 1981 to June 2024 every Saturday to register strongest protest and many times even on Wednesday which was later discontinued so that litigants don’t suffer hugely and still we see that nothing has been done to address this hot-button issue on a war footing!

No doubt, it is nothing but absurdity of the highest order that Centre has till date not allowed even a single High Court Bench in the whole of West UP for nearly 80 years! I find absolutely just no bona fide reason as to why West UP with 30 districts and more than 10 crores population which is more than majority of the population of most of the States in India for which Dr BR Ambedkar recommended separate Statehood and which owes for majority of the cases of UP which tops the States list in having maximum number of pending cases has been denied even a single Bench inspite of Justice Jaswant Singh Commission appointed by Centre itself headed by former Supreme Court Judge recommending Bench in West UP nearly 50 years ago but till now not even a single Circuit Bench created but for Karnataka with just 6 crores population which already had High Court two more High Court permanent Benches were created in 2008 for Dharwad and Gulbarga with just 4 and 8 districts only and Telanagan with just 3 crores population was given Statehood by Centre in 2014!

How long will Centre most ruthlessly perpetuate such worst, blatant, brazen, brutal, blind and baseless discrimination that defies any logic? People elect government in Centre to address their grievances and so it cannot put the ball of decision making in the court of any other authority!

Written by:

Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate, s/o Col (Retd) BPS Sirohi,

A 82, Defence Enclave, Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera, Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.

*Published as recieved.

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