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Why Centre Is So Deadly Opposed To More HC Bench Anywhere In UP?


                                       Why is it that the practicing lawyers of West UP of all the districts here are on strike now again on August 4, 2022 demanding a High Court Bench in West UP among other things? Why is it that I who am nearing 50 years old and when even I was not born, the lawyers of West UP were most relentlessly striking and agitating for a High Court Bench for months and months together but Centre most stupidly, most shamelessly and most senselessly decides not to allow not just a High Court Bench in West UP alone but in any nook and corner of UP except the one that was created by Barrister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru termed by many as “World’s Greatest Jurist” created on July 1, 1948 just 200 km away from Allahabad at Lucknow called the “City of Nawabs” for just 12 districts so that the people there were not troubled to travel 200 km away to Allahabad to get justice! For Centre it just did not matter that the people of West UP of 30 districts are compelled to travel more than 700 km on average all the way to Allahabad most foolishly by not allowing any Bench anywhere in UP! Not just this the people of hilly regions of undivided UP were compelled most horrifyingly to travel all the way more than thousands of kilometers away to Allahabad to get justice and Supreme Court also kept watching everything like a hapless, hopeless and helpless spectator for more than 50 long years till Uttarakhand itself was created in 2000 when it got High Court itself at Nainital and it definitely cannot be ever lauded for this worst inaction! It also cannot be glossed over that the then UP CM Sampoornanand in 1955 had recommended a High Court Bench at Meerut but Pandit Nehruji overruled him. Since then all the PM firmly, fully and finally decided not to allow any more High Court Bench in any nook and corner of UP except at Lucknow as they all including the incumbent PM Narendra Damodardas Modi very strongly feel that Pandit Nehruji is hundred percent right on what he did and even God cannot change this as God is not world’s greatest jurist as Pandit Nehruji is according to many!  

           It is really worth appreciating, applauding and adoring to see that while delivering his speech at the First Meeting of the All India District Legal Services Authority organised by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), the Chief Justice of India – NV Ramana made no bones in underscoring on the urgent need to strengthen the subordinate judiciary. Why district lawyers of Hapur district are on strike since July 19, 2022 till today that is August 4, 2022? Why can’t their legitimate demands be fulfilled? CJI NV Ramana must intervene and fulfill the legitimate demands of Hapur district court lawyers who are on strike since July 19, 2022!

                       There can be no gainsaying the irrefutable fact that district courts being the people’s first point of contact with the judiciary plays a very pivotal role in the dispensation of justice. It also goes without saying that every progressive policy needs a strong foundation and the same goes for judiciary; it is imperative to strengthen its foundation – District Judiciary. CJI must ensure that on ground all the grievances of lawyers of West UP are addressed immediately to strengthen the district judiciary!   

                   Needless to say, this alone explains why the 18th Law Commission in its 230th report submitted in August 2009 by the then Chairman of Law Commission of India – Justice Dr AR Lakshmanan who is a former Supreme Court Judge had itself noted that, “In almost every High Court, there is huge pendency of cases and the present strength of the judges can hardly be said to be sufficient to cope with the alarming situation. The institution of cases is much more than the disposal and it adds to arrears of cases. The litigating citizens have a fundamental right of life i.e. a tension-free life through speedy justice-delivery system. Now it has become essential that the present strength of the judges should be increased manifold according to the pendency, present and probable. It is also necessary that the work of the High Courts is decentralized, that is, more Benches are established in all States. If there is manifold increase in the strength of the judges and the staff, all cannot be housed in one campus. Therefore, the establishment of new Benches is necessary. It is also in the interest of the litigants. The Benches should be so established that a litigant is not required to travel long. It is true that the new establishments will require money, but it is necessary as a development measure, particularly, when efforts are being made for all-round development of the country. Therefore, the money should not be a problem. We have to watch and protect the interest of the litigants. We must always keep in mind that the existence of judges and advocates is because of the litigants and they are there to serve their cause only. Sometimes, some advocates object to creation of new Benches and selection of new sites for construction of new buildings. But they raise objections in their personal, limited interest. Creation of new Benches is certainly beneficial for the litigants and the lawyers and a beginning has to be made somewhere. A speedy trial is not only required to give quick justice but it is also an integral part of the fundamental right of life, personal liberty, as envisaged in article 21 of the Constitution. Article 39A of the Constitution provides for equal justice and free legal aid. The said article obligates the State to promote justice on a basis of equal opportunity and, in particular, provide free legal aid by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities!”

                It is more than 13 years that the Law Commission made this historic recommendation yet ironically only one State – Karnataka has gained from it and the bigger States like UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Odisha etc have not gained anything as not even a single High Court Bench has been created anywhere! Should not the CJI  at present NV Ramana do something on this? This despite the fact that we see maximum lawlessness in states like Bihar where maximum trains were burnt in the recent protests against the Agniveer scheme for defence soldiers. Still it has not even a single High Court Bench even though it has more than 11 crore population also and as against this, Karnataka which has just 6 crore population has three High Court Benches and so also has Assam, Maharashtra and West Bengal! This anomaly must be set right by creating more benches in UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Odisha and other big states! It brooks no more delay now yet we see a deafening silence on it! I hope Centre will at least now act after 75 years of independence and accord due weightage most laudably to the landmark recommendations that were made by 230th report!

                          The most ticklish question to consider here is: Why other states where pending cases in high courts didn’t exceed even one lakh were given more benches and which already had benches like Maharashtra, Karnataka and Assam among others but UP was not given even a single more Bench after 1948? Why UP has more than 10 lakh pending cases in High Court and more than one crore cases in lower courts which is more than half of the states cases put together and still it has just one High Court Bench and that too so close to Allahabad? Why even Madhya Pradesh has two High Court Benches at Gwalior and Indore but UP has just one even though the pending cases of UP far outnumber MP? Same is the case with other states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Assam among others!         

                                Why Centre has most contemptuously refused to create even a single High Court Bench in any nook and corner of UP including at West UP which has 30 districts? Why so many former PMs like Atal Bihari Vajpayee who even himself forcefully raised the demand for a High Court Bench for West UP right inside Parliament in 1986, Mrs Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Dr Manmohan Singh among others who had all appreciated the dire need for a High Court Bench in West UP yet not even a single has been created anywhere in UP? Why another lawless state Bihar has not even a single High Court Bench? Why so many UP CM like Dr Sampoornanand, ND Tiwari, Rajnath Singh and present Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had demanded a High Court Bench for Gorakhpur in Parliament in 1998 as he was MP from Gorakhpur and even brought a private member Bill in 2015 for the same then also yet why not even a single Bench created till now anywhere in UP? 

                                To top it all: Why most shamelessly has Centre ignored that the practising lawyers of West UP repeatedly went on strike for months and months together since last many decades when I who am nearing 50 years was not even born as was seen in the one month hunger strike in 1978? Why even the six months old strike by practising lawyers of 30 districts of West UP as was done in 2001 from July till December and so also four to five months strike as was done in 2014-15, two months as was done in 2010 and one month as was done in 2009 apart from the strike every Saturday without break for more than 41 years since May 1981 till July 2022 apart from the so many strikes like every Wednesday also which was discontinued so that litigants don’t suffer? Why nothing on earth fails to shake Centre in taking any concrete step for creating a high court bench in West UP? 

                            In addition, the lawyers of more than 30 districts of West UP have been regularly meeting under the banner of Central Action Committee in which the President and General Secretary of every District Bar gather along with senior and eminent lawyers to discuss on strategies to further the cause for getting a Bench approved from Centre since last many decades but again to no avail! The worst part is: Centre in 2008 even after taking memorandum from lawyers of West UP repeatedly decided to create 2 High Court Benches in Karnataka for just 4 and 8 districts respectively at Dharwad and Gulbarga respectively thus slapping the senior lawyers of West UP direct on their face which is most shocking and most disgusting! Nothing on earth can be more unfortunate than this! Yet the lawyers of West UP have always protested in the most dignified manner which has just no parallel!

      It must be stated rather disconcertingly that it is India’s utter misfortune that UP which has the maximum population more than 25 crore as Yogi Adityanath who is UP CM keeps proudly declaring time and again which is more than the population of many 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 November 2021 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!

                              Of course, all High Court 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 shamelessly and why can’t it take suo motu cognizance on this also just like it took on the Lakhimpur Kheri incident? Supreme Court has grievously erred on this in last 75 years of independence!

                      It is most shocking that  UP which is among the largest States, has maximum population – more than 25 crore as CM Yogi Adityanath always proudly claims, 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 cases in lower courts about to touch 1 crore, maximum Judges both in High Court – 160 and also in lower courts, maximum vacancies of Judges both in High Court and also in lower courts, 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! Allahabad High Court is biggest High Court in whole of Asia as was claimed by Yogi Adityanath and also is one of oldest High Court and UP Bar Council has maximum members  yet has least Bench just one and so very near to Allahabad which is nothing but most senseless, shameless and stupid decision perpetuated since independence and not rectified till now!  

                           Why is it that the people of West UP of more than 30 districts foolishly were compelled and are still compelled most senselessly, most shamelessly and most stupidly 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 but the people of Nawab City i.e. Lucknow cannot travel even 200 km away to Allahabad? Most shamefully, why no one cares for poorest of poor, women and infirm and physically handicapped people who can’t travel so far easily and Centre is most happy by inaugurating an international airport at Kushinagar and now again at Jewar in West UP which is a very good thing but why so miserly on High Court Bench for West UP which will benefit all whether poor or rich or Hindu or Muslim or of any other religion? Centre must act now and not just keep remembering the “greatest jurist on earth” who ius none other than Pandit Nehru as a pretext for not creating Bench anywhere in UP!

                   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 Narendradas 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 about which I never cared as I personally don’t even want to marry and am unmarried even though I am nearing 50 years! Sageer used to ask his own Muslim brothers as I saw from 1993-95 that, “Are Hindus second graded citizens in India that they have been barred from marrying more than one since 1955 even though Dr BR Ambedkar favoured retention of polygamy among Hindus and if they want to marry more than one they have to first convert to Islam which is the worst crime even though earlier in British India, Mughal India and even earlier Hindus could marry as many as they liked?  He said that, “Muslims enjoy maximum liberty in India all over the world as can be seen from this but discriminating between Hindus and Muslims is most unfair and cannot be justified under any circumstances. Hindus are most tolerant and they have so quietly accepted all this but no PM can ever dare abolish polygamy among Muslims as they know that Muslims are not Hindus who will tolerate everything so quietly and humbly.” The same holds true for High Court Benches also which concerns me most!

                   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 which is most shocking! Supreme Court and so also the CJI have definitely not covered themselves with glory anyway in last 75 years by stupidly leaving everything on Centre alone who has done just nothing on it! 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 NV Ramana who himself worships in Varanasi in UP as we saw recently and Apex Court also on this burning issue also as this will benefit directly most the poorest of poor, women, aged and the needy people who cannot afford to travel by plane! 

                         There can be no gainsaying that if UP can’t be given more high court benches and West UP can’t have even one High Court Bench then all the Benches in India must be definitely disbanded right now itself because UP has maximum pending cases and if it can function without any Benches in needy regions like West UP who are suffering to the hilt where people of more than 30 districts have to travel more than 700 km on an average all the way to Allahabad then why Maharashtra which tops the state list in justice index has 3 High Court Benches and we see even 4th Bench at Kolhapur had been sanctioned by the CM earlier for just 6 districts but now a single more for UP! Most disgusting! 

Sanjeev Sirohi



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