Lawyers Of West UP Once Again Compelled To Go On Strike


             It is a national tragedy that at a time when the whole nation is rejoicing over the bhumi poojan of Shri Ram temple in Ayodhya, the lawyers of 26 districts of West UP once again are on strike on August 4, 2020 in protest against the gruesome, dastardly and ghastly murder of a fellow lawyer named Dharmendra Chaudhary from Bulandshahr just recently! This eminent and senior lawyer named Dharmendra Chaudhary had been missing for the past eight days and ultimately his decomposed body was recovered from a marble godown in Khurja area on night of July 31, 2020! In 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!

It is a national tragedy that West UP accounts for more than 57% of the total pending cases of UP and still both High Court at Allahabad and a single bench just 200 km away at Lucknow are both in Eastern UP and West UP along with Purvanchal and Bundelkhand have been left high and dry!

It is a national tragedy that lawyers of West UP have been demanding a high court bench since independence but as the first PM Jawaharlal Nehru had vowed that not a single bench would be allowed anywhere in any part of UP except at Lucknow which he created on July 1, 1948, we see no PM has till date ever dared to defy the verbal diktat of Pandit Nehru! It is a national tragedy that when the  Chief Minister of UP in 1955 had recommended a high court bench in Meerut, the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru fired him and said that not a single bench can ever be allowed at any place other than the one at Lucknow which is just 200 km away from Allahabad and the people of West UP and hilly areas (now part of Uttarakhand which is a separate state since 2000) have no option but to travel all the way to Allahabad! This alone explains why the people of hilly areas started agitating vigorously for a separate state and ultimately achieved it after lot of violent protests and demonstrations!

It is a national tragedy that when the late former PM Mrs Indira Gandhi got the recommendations from Justice Jaswant Singh Commission which she had herself appointed in late 1970s of 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 approval and they were created later but regarding the landmark recommendation given to create 3 high court benches at Agra, Nainital and Dehradun, she decided that not a single bench of high court would be created as her father never wanted this to happen! Rajiv Gandhi too continued this tradition even though hew as in favour of bench in West UP but old leaders reminded him of Nehru’s words! It is a national tragedy that when many UP Congress CM like late ND Tiwari among others strongly recommended the high court bench for West UP, it was again not accepted!

It is a national tragedy that as Opposition leader former PM late Atal Bihari Vajpayee had vociferously demanded the creation of a high court bench in West UP in 1986 but when he became PM in 1999 till 2003, he too decided to honour Nehruji’s word of not allowing a single bench anywhere except Lucknow! It is a national tragedy that as PM Dr Manmohan Singh decided to create 2 more benches for just 4 and 8 districts of Karnataka at Dharwad and Gulbarga and where the population of entire state is just 6 crore and which already had a bench at Hubli and where pending cases are just about 1 lakh but not a single for UP where pending cases are more than 10 lakhs and West UP alone has more than 5 lakhs and population at 9 crore which is more than Karnataka and here again Nehru’s words were given effect of not allowing a single bench anywhere in UP except Lucknow even though Dr Manmohan had repeatedly assured the delegation of lawyers from West UP of allowing a bench to be created here!

It is a national tragedy that things did not change even under incumbent PM Narendra Modi also and he too decided to follow what Pandit Nehruji always wanted and decided to create one more bench of high court at Kolhapur for just 6 districts taking the tally of benches in Maharashtra to 4 but not a single bench for West UP! No wonder, Maharashtra tops in the state index list for speedy justice and UP figures in the bottom!

It is a national tragedy that criminals are ruling the roost and making the headlines in UP. No wonder, the former UN Secretary General had termed UP as “rape and crime capital” of India! The latest incident pertains to kidnapping cum murder of a 28 year-old technician named Sanjeet Yadav who worked in a private lab. What is worse is that criminals even took 30 lakh rupees from the deceased Sanjeet Yadav’s family as the family allege after cops told them to do so and still they murdered him most mercilessly! 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 again in West UP, a mother and a daughter are brutally killed! The list of such criminal acts are endless! It is a national tragedy that there is no fear of law in West UP among criminals still there is not a single high court bench here!

It is a national tragedy that 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 single bench of high court still no action! It is a national tragedy that the 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 but never cared to implement it thus blindly following what Nehruji had said!

It is a national disgrace that UP which has maximum pending cases in India among all the states which is more than 10 states put together has just one high court bench and that too just 200 km away from Allahabad where high court itself is located at Lucknow and nowhere else! It is a national disgrace that UP which is among the largest States, has maximum population – more than 23 crore, maximum districts – 75, maximum constituencies,  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, maximum members in UP Bar Council and which is the largest Bar Council in the world yet the former Chairman of UP Bar Council – Darvesh Yadav who was first woman to get appointed to this post was murdered right in court premises in Agra again in West UP, maximum poverty, maximum villages more than one lakh, 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 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 entire UP! It is a national disgrace that UP sends maximum MPs to Lok Sabha – 80, maximum MPs to Rajya Sabha – 30, maximum MLAs to State Assembly – 404 MLAs and maximum members to State Legislative Council – 100 MLAs and what not yet has least benches just one! It is a national disgrace that Centre along with political leaders from many parties are pompously celebrating the bhumi poojan of Lord Ram temple in Ayodhya knowing fully well that Lord Ram always stood for justice yet believe firmly that Nehruji’s conviction for just one bench for whole of UP must be followed always as the best tribute to him!

It is a national disgrace that the High Courts and Benches of 8 states are nearer to West UP as compared to Allahabad High Court and even Lahore High Court in Pakistan is nearer to West UP than Allahabad? How long will Centre ignore that Allahabad High Court is the biggest court in 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? How long will Nehruji’s name be invoked to oppose the creation of a bench in West UP or in any hook and corner of UP except at Lucknow which Nehruji himself created in 1948! If Lucknow is capital then so is Bhopal of Madhya Pradesh, Raipur of Chhattisgarh, Dehradun of Uttarakhand, Trivandrum of Kerala, Dispur of Assam, Bhubaneshwar of Orissa etc then why all these capitals have been denied a high court or even a bench?

Why when former CJI 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 Centre to take a decision and yet even after 74 years of independence if Centre fails to act not just for West UP but for whole of UP should Supreme Court not 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? It must act now most decisively as this serious issue directly concerns the judiciary! Why Bar Council of India never speaks a word on this? No more dilly-dallying now!

Sanjeev Sirohi

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