It is most heartening to note that repeatedly one after the other leaders both from BJP and Opposition parties like BSP are repeatedly raising the legitimate and compelling demand for the creation of a high court bench in West UP! The latest to join the growing list of MPs demanding the creation of a high court bench in West UP is Kunwar Danish Ali of BSP from Amroha who demanded that it should be created at the earliest! Just recently, we saw how even the Chairman of UP Bar Council – Hari Shankar Singh too had strongly demanded so at the earliest! It seems as if a tsunami is flowing with prominent faces from different parties and different fields all unitedly demanding the creation of a high court bench in West UP which is not going to benefit just one religion or community or caste alone but will benefit people from all religions, all communities and all castes equally!
It is also most heartening to see that Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad clearly acknowledged that Danish Ali’s demand for a bench in West UP was valid and he assured that he will try on this! Danish Ali rightly urged Centre that when it can finish any law in no time then why can’t it create a high court bench in West UP promptly? Danish Ali rightly drew the attention of the House that the demand for a high court bench in West UP is very old and people have to travel so far due to which they have to waste both their time and money! But the reason cited by Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for the delay in creating bench in West UP is ludicrous!
How can Ravi Shankar Prasad overlook what the ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi while disposing of a petition on this filed by a lady advocate KL Chitra last year had said explicitly while appreciating the dire need for a bench in West UP that it is for Centre to decide on it? How can Union Law Minister ignore that even Justice Jaswant Singh Commission had recommended the creation of a high court bench in West UP? How can Union Law Minister ignore that procedure is nothing but the handmaiden of people and it cannot be given precedence over the long sufferings faced by people since 1947 as both high court at Allahabad and a single bench just 200 km away from Allahabad at Lucknow is in Eastern UP? When a bench can be created at Lucknow on July 1, 1948 then why can’t a bench not be created even 72 years later in 2019 or rather 2020 which is about to start in West UP?
It will take some time for me to come to terms with what I have read in various newspapers including Amar Ujala and Dainik Jagran among others dated 17/11/2019 wherein none other than the UP Bar Council Chairman and senior advocate Harishankar Singh who has an impeccable track record has openly not just espoused the creation of a high court bench in West UP at any cost but has also simultaneously warned that if Centre and UP state government do not pay attention to it there will be a very big movement! Why is Centre and UP state government dead determined that as Jawaharlal Nehru had created a high court bench in Lucknow which is just about 200 km away from Allahabad where High Court itself is located on July 1, 1948 and not at any other place and all Prime Ministers following him from Lal Bahadur Shastri to Narendra Modi himself has never broken this even though Justice Jaswant Singh Commission which was appointed by Centre itself by the then late Mrs Indira Gandhi government in late 1970s headed by former Supreme Court Judge – Justice Jaswant Singh which recommended 3 high court benches for UP but not one was created even though on its recommendations benches of high court were created at Aurangabad in Maharashtra, Madurai in Tamil Nadu and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal? This is most shocking! It is most baffling as to why no government in Centre ever fulfils the legitimate and compelling need for a high court bench in West UP for the more than 9 crore people living here in 26 districts knowing fully well that even Justice Jaswant Singh Commission had recommended that a High Court Bench should be created in West UP?
Why even this BJP government led by PM Narendra Modi who now enjoys majority in both Houses of Parliament is not listening to even its own Union Ministers and MPs from West UP who repeatedly keep raising the demand for a high court bench in Parliament itself? Why is it ignored that even former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had himself raised the demand for a high court bench in West UP right inside Parliament while he was leader of Opposition? Why is it ignored that more than half of the pending cases are from West UP as was acknowledged by Justice Jaswant Singh Commission also still why not a single high court bench has been created here since last more than 72 years?
It must be mentioned here that UP Bar Council Chairman Harishankar Singh while mentioning about one state and one high court concept disclosed that in Lucknow there is a separate high court bench and there are many states where there are 2 to 3 high court benches. In fact, Assam and Maharashtra have 4 benches! He said that UP is the oldest state and according to its area and population the demand for a high court bench is legitimate which will be fulfilled at all cost! He also disclosed that while he was Vice Chairman in 2008 then also he had prominently raised the demand for a high court bench in West UP! He called upon advocates of West UP to give a memorandum for high court bench which has been given umpteen number of times in the past also but he assured that at any cost he would make the lawyers of West UP meet PM Narendra Modi who represents Varanasi and UP CM Yogi Adityanath! He also minced no words to make it absolutely clear that he represents more than 3 and a half lakh advocates of UP and he would not be afraid to go even to jail or face judicial contempt. He asserted that he earlier also supported the sacred cause of a high court bench in West UP and in future also shall continue doing so relentlessly! It takes great guts and great determination to do what he is doing so openly!
Come to think of it, it is a matter of greatest national shame and most shocking that Uttar Pradesh which is the biggest state amongst all the states in India with maximum population at more than 23 crore as UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Prime Minister Narendra Modi keep proudly bragging about at public rallies time and again which is more than even that of Pakistan and many other countries and there are only 3 countries including China, India, USA which have more population than UP, maximum MPs in Lok Sabha at 80, maximum MPs in Rajya Sabha at 31, maximum MLAs in Vidhan Sabha at 404, maximum MLAs in Vidhan Parishad at 100, maximum Judges at lower courts at more than 5000, maximum Judges in High Courts at 160, maximum pending cases in lower courts at more than 50 lakhs, maximum pending cases in high court at more than 10 lakh, maximum members in UP Bar Council which is more than one lakh which is the highest not just in India but in the whole world as is pointed out in the website of UP Bar Council itself, maximum elected representatives at all levels including villages like Sarpanch, maximum villages which is again more than one lakh, maximum tehsils, maximum Mayors, maximum constituencies at 80, maximum districts at 75, maximum poverty and what not yet has least high court benches in India – only one and that too just about 200 km away from Allahabad at Lucknow! What a shame that Jawaharlal Nehru had the great guts to create a high court bench in Lucknow on July 1, 1948, 72 years ago which is just 200 km away from Allahabad where main high court is located but no PM had the guts to create a high court bench thousands of kilometers away at any of the 13 districts in hilly areas which now constitute a separate state called Uttarakhand and the people then numbering 88 lakh living there had to travel so far for more than 50 years after independence which led to resentment and agitation of a separate state and now it has a high court nor at any other district in UP especially West UP which has 26 districts and is notorious for lawlessness!
What a shame that US President Donald Trump openly lauded PM Narendra Modi for winning with more than two third majority in UP elections but still this government cannot summon the courage to even create even a single bench in any hook and corner of UP, leave alone West UP! Who can deny that Allahabad High Court is the biggest high court not just in India but in whole of Asia yet has just one bench which is so close at Lucknow and is also one of the oldest high court which completed its 150 year of creation in 2016? Who can deny that Bar Council of UP has maximum members in whole world about three and a half lakh members yet its former Chairperson Darvesh Yadav just within three days of being elected was brutally murdered right inside court premises in Agra in West UP by pumping three bullets on her? Who can deny that even Supreme Court lawyers are not safe in West UP and this stands vindicated by the recent brutal murder of lady advocate Kuljeet Kaur in Noida in West UP right inside her house? Who can deny that many senior lawyers in the past also have been brutally murdered not just in West UP but in other parts also as we saw in Basti? Just recently we saw a senior and eminent lawyer in Meerut named Mukesh Sharma being brutally murdered just adjacent to his house while he had gone for walk and similarly in other districts of West UP we saw lawyers being murdered! Another advocate Zahid was murdered in Baghpat! In Muzaffarnagar still another advocate Ameer Saifi was murdered! For how long will West UP’s legitimate claim for a high court bench be consistently ignored?
Needless to say, UP must have maximum benches in India and not minimum as most unfortunately we have been seeing since last 72 years! Centre’s adamant approach to not create any bench anywhere else in UP other than Lucknow is responsible for demand being raised for separate state as we see in Bundelkhand, West UP, Poorvanchal and other parts also! Centre can shamelessly create 2 more benches for a peaceful state like Karnataka at Dharwad and Gulbarga for just 4 and 8 districts even though it had a bench already at Hubli also for just 6 crore people living there but for more than 9 crore people of West UP it is not ready to create even a single bench! Karnataka has just about 1 lakh pending cases still it has 3 benches but for UP which has more than 10 lakh pending cases and West UP alone which has more than 5 lakh pending cases it has none! Same is true for Assam and Maharashtra which have 4 benches even though their pending cases stand nowhere when compared to UP whom Ban ki moon who is former UN Secretary General had slammed as “rape and crime capital of India” and even West UP alone has more cases which is more than both the states put together!
Centre must stop shamelessly putting the onus on creating benches on Judges of High Court and Full Bench of High Court instead of itself acting as it has done in case of many other states! It is Centre which gets mandate from people to act to address their long term sufferings! How can Centre shift this also on Judges of High Court who are not elected by people and abjure its own responsibility? How can Centre shamelessly ignore that Justice Jaswant Singh Commission also recommended a bench for West UP which Centre has not implemented even though benches were created for other states many decades back as for instance at Aurangabad in Maharashtra in 1985, Madurai in Tamil Nadu and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal?
If West UP can’t be given bench then Centre must disband all high court benches in India! But the 230th report of Law Commission of India in 2009 recommended creation of more high court benches as it would help people get speedy justice! Senior and eminent advocate Naresh Dutt Sharma who is General Secretary of Meerut Bar has very rightly pointed out that, “State government has several times sent resolutions for creating bench in West UP. Central Action Committee of West UP has also spoken several times to State Government and done gherao also. Centre has the power to create a bench in West UP and ensure that cheap justice is given to people here.”
Sanjay Sharma who is former General Secretary of Meerut Bar more bluntly says that, “Law Minister is misguiding Parliament. Centre can directly create bench in UP. There is no need for any resolution. Centre’s intentions are not noble on this. BJP leaders from West UP are also not determined due to which Bench has not been created here.” Centre must stop dishing out excuses and act boldly as it did in case of abrogating special status of Jammu and Kashmir! Ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi definitely cannot speak lies and he has categorically and clearly said that it is for Centre to take action on this. He never said that it is for full Bench of Allahabad High Court to decide on this as the Union Law Minister is advocating! There can be no denying that people from all religions numbering more than 9 crore will gain immensely in West UP if a bench is created here!