Why Lawless West UP Has No High Court Bench?

What is happening in West UP? Who is safe in West UP when police officers are themselves not safe here and can be murdered so openly and brazenly by criminals as we saw for ourselves just recently in Bulandshahr? Why is no one really bothered to address the core issue? Why the litigants of West UP are compelled to travel more than 700 km on an average all the way to Allahabad to attend court hearings? Why are criminals allowed to have the last laugh as they watch cases lingering on for many decades due to no bench of high court being in place in West UP?

What a pity that right from 1947 till 2018 each and every party in Centre and in State have noted with concern the alarming increase in incidents of crime, rape and violence in West UP but have done nothing to create even a single bench of high court in any of the 26 districts of West UP for the more than 9 crore people living here even though Jawaharlal Nehru had no compunction to create a single bench of high court at Lucknow also the capital of Uttar Pradesh which is just about 200 km away from Allahabad way back in 1948 on July 1 more than seventy years ago! If Lucknow is capital then so is Bhopal which is capital of Madhya Pradesh, Bhubaneshwar which is capital of Odisha, Dispur which is capital of Assam, Dehradun which is capital of Uttarakhand, Thiruvananthapuram which is capital of Kerala, Raipur which is capital of Chhattisgarh and so many others also but they have neither high court nor bench! Why then was Lucknow only selected for a bench and not any other city like we see in Madhya Pradesh having high court at Jabalpur and benches at Gwalior and Indore?

Why Centre deliberately disregarded the historic recommendations of Justice Jaswant Singh Commission’s landmark and laudable recommendation to create 3 high court benches for undivided UP at Agra, Dehradun and Nainital not allowing even one which led to disintegration of UP into UP and Uttarakhand even while allowing creation of benches as recommended at Aurangabad in Maharashtra which already had benches at Nagpur and Panaji, Madurai at Tamil Nadu and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal which already had a bench at Port Blair for Andaman and Nicobar Islands for just 3 lakh people while caring a damn for the welfare of more than 9 crore people of West UP which is more than any other state except Bihar and Maharashtra and here too Bihar area at 94,000 square km is less than that of West UP at 98,933 square km? Why Centre just recently decided to create one more bench at Maharashtra for just 6 districts at Kolhapur while not allowing a single for any of the 26 districts in West UP? Why Centre in 2012 created 2 more benches at Dharwad and Gulbarga for just 4 and 8 districts in Karnataka which already had a bench at Hubli while not accepting the then Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal’s landmark recommendation to create a high court bench in Meerut as was disclosed about an year ago by none other than former Union Minister RPN Singh while interacting with media in Meerut?

In hindsight, we saw how the family and relatives of slain Inspector Subodh broke down for a wife had lost her husband and children had lost their parents and parents had lost their son! As the body of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh, killed by a mob in Bulandshahr a day earlier was being taken to the family home at Tarigawa near Etah for the final rites, his 17-year-old son Abhishek could only shake his head in grief and lament that, “My father wanted me to be a good citizen, one who doesn’t incite violence in the name of religion. Today my father lost his life in this Hindu-Muslim dispute, whose father will it be tomorrow?” Why repeated killings of police officers, politicians, lawyers, doctors, businessman etc are downplayed in West UP and why the dire need of bench is disregarded so callously by Centre?

Why this present dispensation led by PM Narendra Modi ignores that the tallest leader of his party and former PM late Atal Bihari Vajpayee in his right senses had forcefully demanded the creation of a high court bench in West UP in 1986 right inside Parliament? Why Modi ignores that he himself too in past had appreciated the dire need of the same? Why Modi ignores that many of his Union Cabinet Ministers like Rajnath Singh who is Union Home Minister has himself supported the creation of a high court bench in West UP and so is the case with Gen VK Singh, Dr Mahesh Sharma and most important of all the former Mumbai Police Commissioner and present Union Cabinet Minister Satyapal Singh who even demanded 5 benches for UP at Meerut, Agra, Varanasi, Jhansi and Gorakhpur but still why Centre is not prepared to create even a single bench of high court in any hook and corner of UP even while creating more benches for other states?

Why Centre ignores that it is West UP which accounts for more than half of the total pending cases of UP and still it has no bench of high court as both high court and bench are in Eastern UP and not anywhere else? Why Centre ignores that Allahabad high court is the oldest high court in India along with Calcutta, Bombay and Madras which completed 150 years in 2016 and is the biggest in whole of Asia with maximum Judges in high court at 160 still why it has least benches in India? Why no effort is made by Centre at all to create more benches even though the lawyers of more than 26 districts of West UP have been staging regular protests since last several decades and have been on strike every Saturday since last more than 37 years and which started from May 1981 and have also gone on strike for 6 months as in 2001 and for 3 to 4 months as in 2014-15 and for a month or weeks together as has been the trend since many years and now again on 13 December and 14 December the lawyers will be on strike and lodge their protest by marching up till Parliament? Why so much of insensitivity on the part of Centre inspite of knowing fully well that the former UN Secretary General while in office had slammed UP as “rape and crime capital of India”?

Many former UP CM like first and foremost Sampoornanand in 1955 had very stoutly and strongly raised the legitimate demand for the creation of a high court bench in West UP at Meerut after more than 100 elected representatives met him and apprised him of the dire need of the same but Nehru didn’t accept his landmark and laudable recommendation for reasons which have no justification which alone explains why he never explained them!

Not just this, even many other UP Chief Ministers like ND Tiwari, Rajnath Singh and others too supported the demand for a high court bench in West UP but Centre never cooperated in taking this landmark and laudable recommendation to its logical conclusion! What is more, even this is not enough! In 1995-96, the then UP CM Mayawati wrote to Centre that West UP be created as a separate state to be named “Harit Pradesh” but again Centre did not accept it which if accepted would have ensured not just high court bench but high court itself for West UP!

Why Centre conveniently and callously ignores what the former UP Chief Justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale who just recently relinquished office had said while he was Chief Justice of UP after the horrifying gang rape of women on national highway in Bulandshahr in West UP that, “Women in UP are not safe even on national highways with their families whereas in Maharashtra women can venture out anywhere alone at any time without any fear of being killed or raped or even harassed in any manner” yet still see the stark reality that Maharashtra has 4 benches and UP just one and West UP which reports maximum cases has none?How long will Centre keep overlooking the tremendous problems faced by the people of West UP in travelling whole night many times without reservation all the way to Allahabad, huge expenses incurred in staying expenses, hiring lawyer expenses etc? How long will Centre ignore that the high court and bench of 8 states are closer to West UP than Allahabad High Court? How long will Centre ignore that even Lahore High Court in Pakistan is nearer to West UP as compared to Allahabad?

Why the landmark recommendations of 230th Law Commission of India to create more benches not implemented in one of the largest state of India with maximum population at 22 crore, maximum villages more than one lakh whereas no other state has more than 5000 villages, maximum towns more than 900, maximum districts at 75, maximum MPs for Lok Sabha at 80, maximum MPs for Rajya Sabha at 31, maximum MLAs in Vidhan Parishad at 104, maximum MLAs in Vidhan Sabha at 404, maximum pending cases at more than 10 lakh which is more than 10 small states put together and here too West UP owes for more than half of them, maximum pending cases both in High Court and lower courts, maximum Judges in High Courts at 160, maximum Judges in lower courts which is more than several states put together, maximum Mayors, maximum elected representatives, maximum incidents of crime, maximum incidents of riots and communal violence etc? It is a crying national shame for which we all need to hang our heads in shame and sorrow! How long will Centre keep denying high court bench to lawless West UP where even police officers themselves are not safe and are killed most mercilessly by criminals as we saw just recently in Bulandshahr what to talk of others? In 2011 in Moradabad an SSP was nearly beaten to death and in 2016 an Additional SP was actually killed in Mathura! Riots break out anytime in any of the 26 districts of West UP still Centre stupidly, senselessly and shamelessly refuses to create a high court bench in any of the districts of West UP refusing to learn nothing from the past! No doubt, West UP is sitting on a dangerous powder keg which can explode any time if damage control measures are not taken right now and the first and foremost step should be to straightaway create a high court bench in any of the 26 districts of West UP!

Why is it ignored that even legal giants like Ram Jethmalani, Soli J Sorabjee, Kapil Sibal etc have time and again reiterated the dire need for setting up a high court bench in West UP? Why is it ignored that Soli J Sorabjee as Attorney General had said in 2001 that, “Centre can create a high court bench in West UP without any recommendation from the State Government or the Chief Justice.” Why is it ignored that even former Supreme Court Bar Association Chairman BN Krishnamani had said that, “Only by the creation of a high court bench in West UP will the people living there get real and effective justice. It should not be denied to them rather should be given at the earliest.”

As per Section 51 of the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, the Centre can create a high court bench in any of the 3 states – UP, Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir by directly bringing it up in Parliament! Then why this dilly dallying on such an important and burning issue? Why now after Supreme Court has clarified its stand on bench in West UP that it is for Centre to decide while appreciating the valid points raised by petitioner KR Chitra who is a woman lawyer demanding bench in West UP can’t Centre act swiftly on this? Centre must act! Lawyers of West UP apart from striking every Saturday since 1981 will also be on strike yet again on 13 and 14 December and on 14 will march towards Parliament to register its long protest for not creating a bench in West UP! When Jawaharlal Nehru can create a high court bench in 1948 in Lucknow then why can't PM Narendra Modi in 2018 create a high court bench in any of the 26 districts of West UP after more than 70 years where people have to travel on an average 700 to 800 km all the way to Allahabad which is far from even Lahore High Court in Pakistan and the high court and benches of 8 states are nearer to West UP as compared to Allahabad? West UP witnesses maximum crime cases and law and order stands crumbled then why should a high court bench in West UP not be immediately created here?

 

Sanjeev Sirohi 
on 24 December 2018
Published in Others
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