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CJI Must Introspect Why UP Has Just One Bench Only

 

It is a matter of national disgrace that UP which keeps capturing the limelight for reasons of crime of all kinds and all the wrong reasons even though it is an irrefutable fact that under the leadership of the incumbent CM Yogi Adityanath UP has progressed by leaps and bounds which one certainly cannot deny but why is it that it has just one High Court Bench only and that too just approximately  200 km  away at the city famously called “Nawab City” in other words – Lucknow? Why is it that the people of “Nawab City” can’t travel just about 200 km to Allahabad where High Court is located and High Court Bench was created for them and adjoining 12 districts on July 1, 1948 but not anywhere else? If Lucknow is capital then so also Bhopal is capital but it has neither High Court nor Bench! Similarly, Dispur is capital of Assam but it has neither High Court nor Bench, Dehradun is capital of Uttarakhand but it has no Bench or High Court and so is the case in many other States like Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Kerala etc! This worst injustice happened right under the nose of Supreme Court for more than 50 years yet it just watched everything like a hapless, helpless and blind spectator!

As if this was not enough, when former PM Mrs Indira Gandhi appointed Justice Jaswant Singh Commission headed by former Supreme Court Judge – Justice Jaswant Singh who was also the former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court to look into where all High Court Benches should be created and it recommended 3 High Court Benches for undivided UP – one at Agra and 2 circuit benches at Nainital and Dehradun but Centre most stupidly, most shamelessly and most senselessly decided not to create even a single High Court Bench for UP anywhere even though it happily created a High Court Bench at Aurangabad in Maharashtra which already had two High Court Benches at Nagpur and Panaji, and so also Benches were created at Madurai in Tamil Nadu and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal!

Why the high court and benches of 8 states and above all even Lahore high court in Pakistan is nearer to West UP as compared to Allahabad? Why the lawyers of West UP were compelled to go on strike for 6 months from July to December 2001 demanding the creation of a high court bench in West UP yet no action taken? Can anyone in Centre even dream as to how the lawyers managed to strike for so long thereby depriving themselves from livelihood for full 6 months and how they struggled to meet their daily end yet no bench created?

Even in 2014-15, the lawyers of West UP went on strike for 3 to 4 months and even boycotted Lok Adalats and protested whole night outside the court but again Centre just gave empty assurances but nothing materialized on ground! Even in 2009, the lawyers of West UP went on strike and even called a bandh in whole of West UP to protest the decision to not create a single bench here! Even in 2010, the lawyers of West UP went on strike for a month demanding bench. The saga of repeated strikes is continuing till 2021 and lawyers recently also were on strike for 5 days and yet Centre just glosses over everything which is so shocking that cannot be described in words!

Why a high court bench at Port Blair for just 3 lakh people, a high court for just 6 lakh people of Sikkim, for just few lakhs of people of people in Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura as also in many other smaller states? Why a high court now for Uttarakhand since 2000 for just 88 lakh people but not even a bench for more than 9 crore people of West UP? Why such a raw and third rated treatment for them?

It must be stated rather disconcertingly that it is India’s utter misfortune that UP which has the maximum population more than 24 crore as Yogi Adityanath who is UP CM keeps proudly declaring time and again which is more than the population of may countries including Pakistan whose population is 22 crore, has maximum villages more than one lakh whereas in other states the number of villages don’t exceed 5000 or 6000 at the most, has maximum pending cases about 10 lakh cases as per official figures in High Court and Bench whereas other states like Karnataka which has 3 high court Benches, Maharashtra which has 3 high court Benches, Assam which has 4 high court benches, Madhya Pradesh which has two etc even though they have less than 1 lakh pending cases or just 1 lakh, UP has maximum districts 75 whereas other states have just about 25 or 30 on an average, UP has maximum MPs, maximum MLAs, maximum Mayors, maximum towns, maximum pending cases in lower courts about to touch one crore pending cases whereas other states have comparatively much lesser figures, UP has given maximum PM to India including the incumbent Narendra Modi who is MP from Varanasi, maximum poverty, maximum crime, maximum riots, maximum killings, maximum rape, assault and other crimes against women, etc and is one of the biggest states of India yet has just one high court bench created way back in 1948 on July 1 at Lucknow which is just about 200 km away from Allahabad where the high court itself is located! Seventy three years have lapsed but till now in April 2018 no bench has been created in any other part of UP even though the former UN Secretary General Ban ki moon had slammed UP as the “rape and crime capital of India”! All true Indians must hang their head in shame at this despicable act! All Benches in India must be disbanded right now itself if West UP and UP cannot have more High Court Benches! How can CJI and Apex Court keep looking just the other way and why can’t it take suo motu cognizance on this also just like it took recently on the Lakhimpur Kheri incident?

It is most shocking that  UP which is among the largest States, has maximum population – more than 24 crore, maximum districts – 75, maximum constituencies – 80,  maximum MPs – 80, maximum MLAs – 404, maximum PM including Narendra Modi who represents Varanasi as an MP, maximum pending cases – more than 10 lakh and here too West UP accounts for more than half of pending cases as noted by Justice Jaswant Commission about 57%, maximum Judges both in High Court – 160 and also in lower courts, maximum vacancies of Judges about 60, maximum members in UP Bar Council more than 1 lakh and which is also the largest Bar Council in the world as claimed in the website itself of UP Bar Council yet the former Chairman of UP Bar Council – Darvesh Yadav who was the first woman to get appointed to this post was murdered cold blooded right in court premises in Agra which is again in West UP on June 12, 2019 by pumping bullets on her head and stomach, maximum poverty, maximum villages more than one lakh the exact number being 107040, maximum gram panchayats at 74626, 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 and here too West UP tops with Saharanpur riots, Meerut riots, Muzaffarnagar riots tarnishing our international reputation to the extent that former UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon termed UP as “crime and rape capital” of India and what not yet Centre till now end of 2020 from 1948 when a bench was created in Lucknow which is so close to Allahabad is not prepared to create even a single bench for not just West UP but for the entire UP? Area of West UP is 98,933 square km and accounts for 33.61 percent of total area of UP and has 26 districts yet no bench but Lucknow with just 62,363 square km and 12 districts has a bench!

Why is it that the people of West UP of more than 22 districts foolishly were compelled and are still compelled to travel all the way to Allahabad which is far away even from Lucknow where High Court Bench is located and averages 600 to 700 km on an average? Most shamefully and most disgracefully, why is it that the people of Uttarakhand had to travel thousands of kilometers all the way shamelessly, senselessly and stupidly all the way not to even Lucknow but right upto Allahabad which is the topmost height of absurdity for more than 50 years from 1947 till end of 2000 when a separate state was created termed as Uttarakhand and a High Court was then allotted for them?

As if this was not enough, the UPA government headed by former PM Manmohan Singh pompously decided to create 2 more High Court Benches for Karnataka which already had a Bench at Hubli for just 4 and 8 districts at Dharwad and Gulbarga respectively in 2008 first as Circuit Bench and then later in 2013 as full Bench as the Karnataka leaders who were very influential were Law Ministers and cared for Karnataka! The lawyers of West UP headed by senior lawyers and Chairman and Secretary of Central Action Committee constituted for setting up a High Court Bench in 1981 repeatedly met the PM, UPA Chairperson Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi among others but all that UP got was a big slap on its face as not a single Bench was allowed anywhere in UP! For more than 9 crore people of West UP alone no Bench but for just 6 crore people of Karnataka, Centre felt most proud to create 2 more Benches which already had a High Court and a Bench which makes me hang my head in shame! This despite the fact that Karnataka is a peaceful state and in UP we see how all opposition parties keep beating their chest on lawlessness yet has just one Bench!

But why blame UPA alone? Even the incumbent PM Narendra Damodardas Modi has ensured that not a single High Court is approved anywhere not just in West UP but in any hook and corner of UP even though it is UP which primarily decides which party will rule in Delhi! The incumbent CM of UP – Yogi Aditynath had thundered with full might for a High Court Bench in Gorakhpur in 1999 while he was MP from there right inside Parliament but he cannot be blamed as it is Centre which has to take the final call on this!

It cannot be lightly dismissed that none other than the former CJI Ranjan Gogoi while in office as CJI had categorically appreciated the dire need of a High Court Bench in West UP when a woman lawyer named KL Chitra raised this burning issue in her PIL but Gogoi made it clear that it was for the Centre to take the final call on this! But Centre led by PM Narendra Damodardas Modi is very firm that what Jawaharlal Nehru did in 1948 to allot Bench only for “Nawab City” should be always maintained and in his 7 years he has proudly done that about which I myself feel most ashamed as the most historic recommendations of 230th report of Law Commission recommending creation of more Benches have been thrown in the dustbin! This despite the irrefutable fact that BJP tall leaders like Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister like Gen VK Singh among others have always reiterated their support for a Bench as the people of more than 22 districts are compelled to travel whole night and half day all the way to Allahabad most foolishly which is truly incomprehensible!

Even Supreme Court has no valid reason to justify this worst stupidity on earth! It is akin to what all the PM have done from 1955 till 2021 that only Hindus have been banned from polygamy and not Muslims as my best friend Sageer Khan used to always lament which he said cannot be justified under any circumstances! He used to ask his own Muslim brothers: “Are Hindus second graded citizens in India that they have been barred from marrying more than one even though in British rule they could marry as many as they liked? Muslims enjoy maximum liberty in India all over the world but discriminating between Hindus and Muslims cannot be justified under any circumstances. Hindus are most tolerant and they have so quietly accepted abolition of polygamy and polyandry but no PM can ever dare polygamy as they know Muslims are not Hindus who will tolerate everything quietly.” The same holds true for High Court Benches also! Why only Eastern UP has both High Court and a single Bench and West UP, Purvanchal and Bundelkhand have not even a single Bench anywhere! Supreme Court and so also the CJI have not covered themselves with glory by leaving everything on Centre alone as was said by former CJI Ranjan Gogoi when Centre is just not prepared to do anything on this at all! Supreme Court is final but it cannot be always infallible! It has grievously erred by not doing anything on this since last nearly 75 years! Let’s fervently hope that better sense prevails on CJI and Apex Court on this burning issue also as this will benefit directly most the poorest of poor, women, aged and the needy who cannot afford to travel by plane!

Sanjeev Sirohi

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