It is both disgraceful and reprehensible to note most painfully that the lawyers of 22 districts of West UP who had all gathered in Meerut on October 14 to oppose the visit of Kesarinath Tripathi to a function in Chaudhary Charan Singh University which was just a symbolic protest march were brutally lathicharged in which many lawyers sustained injuries. What is most disgusting and shocking is that even seniormost and most reputed lawyers like Chaudhary Narendrapal Singh, MP Sharma, Dr OP Sharma who lost his single son Tarun Sharma 3 years back in 2014 after being shot at just outside his house and Anil Jangala among others were also not spared! Is this the way lawyers are treated in this country? Even woman lawyers were not spared and they too were lathicharged and got injured.
I am still to come to terms with the irrefutable fact that so many senior lawyers were lathicharged and many sustained injuries also and had to be hospitalized! Rohitashawa Kumar Aggarwal who is President of Meerut Bar Association himself said most painfully that, “Senior advocate Narendrapal Singh who has been the former President of Meerut Bar and who has led padyatras demanding high court bench in West UP so many times and the most famous of all being the one from Mussorie to Delhi when memorandum was submitted to the then President Giani Zail Singh for aa bench of high court in West UP in 1980s was also lathicharged by police. Until and unless police officials are not transferred or suspended the strike would continue.” From 14 to 24 October the strike has continued uninterrupted. Earlier also on 11 and 12 October the lawyers of West UP were on strike.
It is noteworthy that the lawyers of West UP have opposed Kesarinath Tripathi’s visit to Meerut because they feel that he was instrumental in pressurizing the government to not create a high court bench in West UP even though the Mayawati government had decided to create one way back in 1995-96. He had reportedly said that bench could be created only over his dead body. This alone explains why lawyers of West UP don’t want him to ever come to West UP! Former President of Meerut Bar and who was also head of Central Action Committee demanding High Court Bench in West UP minced no words in pointing out that, “Tripathi is the sole reason why we have not been able to get a High Court Bench in Meerut. In 1992, when the BJP-BSP combine was in power, the then Chief Minister Mayawati had agreed to the logical demand for the Bench, but Tripathi, who was UP Assembly Speaker at the time had vehemently opposed it, so much so that he once said the Bench would be formed ‘on my dead body’. So, our protest was symbolic, comprising lawyers of 22 districts of Western UP but police gave it a colour of a violent agitation.”
It must be informed here that President of Meerut Bar Association Rohtash Agarwal had said, “It is shameful that all the senior BJP leaders here, including the MP and MLAs were well aware of the hatred West UP lawyers nurture for Kesarinath Tripathi and yet he was invited here. Anyway, his visit has only reignited the flame of the movement for a bench. But Saturday’s lathicharge was unfortunate and we will file an FIR against the city superintendent of police and other senior police officials who ordered the action against us.”
Prabodh Sharma who is convenor of the High Court Bench Agitation Committee for West UP minced just no words in stating it quite upfront that, “We were lodging our protest in a peaceful manner but the police acted like BJP workers and did not even spare women among us. Our agitation will be continued and we will chalk out our future strategy during the next meeting.”
Vinod Rana who is also a senior and eminent lawyer and also has been always in the forefront in leading the agitation for a high court bench in West UP too was badly wounded in both arms and police manhandled him and misbehaved with him in the most ugly manner that can shame even the criminals! I feel ashamed to even say what all happened with him! How can police act in such a rowdy and unprofessional manner thus exhibiting open hooliganism?
Vinod Rana further went on to add that, “I do not understand why police had to use force against unarmed advocates. What was the reason? Are we criminals? It was already decided in a Friday meeting at the Meerut Bar Association that we will hold protests at the university gates, but we were stopped much before there. Later police arrested a couple of lawyers and me but released us.”
It is heartening to note that various social organizations have openly come out in support of lawyers of West UP who have been staging peaceful protests and demanding bench of high court here since last many decades! Even lawyers of Agra who have been separately waging agitation for a high court bench have expressed their solidarity with the lawyers of Meerut and other districts who got injured on October 14. Their delegation came and expressed their solidarity with lawyers of Meerut and other districts and vowed to unitedly struggle till a bench is created here! My more than hundred articles have been published in various journals, magazines and newspapers in last ten years in which I have said pinpointedly that when a bench of high court could be created by Jawaharlal Nehru way back in 1948 on July 1 at Lucknow then why after 70 years a high court bench cannot be created in any of the 26 districts of West UP even as 2018 is about to begin?
Why should more than 9 crore people of West UP travel all the way to Allahabad to attend court hearings every now and then even as train runs late many times and litigants have to bear all kinds of problems and waste huge money in it? When a high court bench can be created so close to Allahabad at Lucknow then why can’t it be set up in any of the 26 districts of West UP which are 700-800 km away from Allahabad? Why Bhopal which is capital of Madhya Pradesh, Bhubaneshwar which is capital of Odisha, Thiruvanthapuram which is capital of Kerala, Dehradun which is capital of Uttarakhand has neither high court nor bench but in Uttar Pradesh a single high court bench was set up so close at Lucknow just because it is capital?
Why different parameters for different capital cities? Why no high court or bench for Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Dehradun, Thiruvananthapuram and others? Why have they been singled out? Why UP slammed by former UN Secretary General as “crime and rape capital” of India has least benches and not maximum?
Why UP has maximum population which is more than 22 crores as Yogi Adityanath keeps boasting every now and then which is more than the population of many countries in the world has least high court benches? Why West UP which owes for more than half of pending cases of UP and which tops in rape, gangrape, riots, murders, etc has not even a single bench of high court? Why Justice Jaswant Singh Commission had recommended 3 benches for West UP at Agra, Nainital and Dehradun as then Uttarakhand too formed part of UP and West UP but Centre did not create even a single even though on its recommendations benches were created at Aurangabad in Maharashtra, Jalpaiguri in West Bengal and Madurai in Tamil Nadu?
Why maximum MPs, MLAs, PMs are all from UP but still it has least high court benches? Why 2 more high court benches were created as circuit benches for Karnataka at Dharwad and Gulbarga for just 4 and 8 districts respectively way back in 2008 which later in 2012 were made permanent benches but not a single bench for West UP even though lawyers of West UP went on strike demanding bench for 6 months in 2001, one month in 2010, three months in 2014-15 apart from the strike on Wednesdays and Saturdays and many other strike calls for many weeks as we saw just recently? Why such a raw third rated treatment for West UP alone which has more than 9 crore population?
Why a high court for just 88 lakh people could be created for Uttarakhand in 2000 but not a single bench of high court for more than 9 crore people even in 2017-18? Why high court could be created for just 14 lakh, 18 lakh or 20 lakh people at Meghalaya, Tripura and Manipur but not a single bench for 9 crore people of West UP? Why UP has more than 10 lakh pending cases whereas other states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Assam among others have not even more than one lakh cases pending but still they have got 3 high court benches? Why Andaman and Nicobar islands with 3 lakh population has bench but not West UP with 9 crore population?
Why high court and benches of 8 states and even Lahore high court in Pakistan is nearer to West UP as compared to Allahabad still no bench is being created here? Why West UP inspite of emerging as epicenter of murders, rapes, gangrapes and communal clashes still has no high court bench which only punishes victims especially woman who has been raped or gangraped to travel all the way to Allahabad to get justice? Why 230th report of Law Commission which recommended setting up of more high court benches has been implemented only in Karnataka where 2 more benches were set up even though a bench already existed at Hubli?
Why BJP while in Opposition had repeatedly promised that if it comes to power in UP and Centre then it will certainly create a high court bench in West UP but even after more than 3 years in power in Centre and more than 6 months in power in UP has done nothing except giving false assurances time and again? Why Rajnath Singh who is Union Home Minister, Amit Shah who is BJP President, Sanjeev Baliyan who is BJP MP from Muzaffarnagar, Brijesh Pathak who is Law Minister of UP and many others from BJP have time and again assured the setting up of high court bench in West UP with Baliyan even assuring that bench would be created by end of 2016 but now even as 2017 is ending we see no action happening on the ground?
One can understand that Atal Bihari Vajpayee inspite of having raised the demand for setting up a high court bench in West UP as early as 1986 could not do anything because his party did not have the full mandate but what about our Modiji and Yogiji both of whom enjoy brute majority in Centre and UP both and yet till now are doing absolutely nothing! Yogiji is promising to spend hundreds of crores of rupees in enacting an idol of Lord Ram so that Hindu devotees can benefit which is a good thing as I am also a Hindu but what about people from other religions and other communities who are all unitedly with Hindus demanding a high court bench to be set up in West UP by which more than 9 crore people will benefit cutting across religious or community or gender lines or any other lines? Why no initiative is being taken in this regard?
In my entire life till now I have never seen Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and people of all religions unitedly demanding the setting up of a high court bench in West UP and it will benefit all of them equally but even all this is failing to convince Centre to act now finally? UP needs more high court benches and not more temples or idols or anti-Romeo squads or anything else! Why is Centre refusing to see the writing on the wall?
Yogi Adityanath had himself demanded bench for Gorakhpur while he was MP in 1998 but now he has conveniently chosen to forget everything! Why Satyapal Singh who has been made recently a Union Minister demanded the setting up of 5 high court benches at Meerut, Agra, Jhansi, Varanasi and Gorakhpur right inside Parliament but till now not even a single bench is being allowed to be set up anywhere in UP leave alone West UP? Is this is what BJP promised to be a “party with a difference”? Most hurting and shocking!
This is treachery and nothing but open treachery with more than 22 crore people of UP and more than 9 crore people of West UP who gave them vote with lots of hope and aspirations that they will create more benches in the whole of UP! Not a single bench created! How much time did Nehru took to create a high court bench in Lucknow way back in 1948? How much time Dr Manmohan Singh took to create 2 more benches at Karnataka even though it already had a bench at Hubli and the number of pending cases in whole of Karnataka is just nothing when compared to UP or even West UP alone? But BJP is not ready for a single bench more in whole of UP even in 2018! Why has BJP changed its stand so suddenly?
I very politely and humbly disagree with what Sangeet Som who is the BJP MP had said about Taj Mahal that it is a blot of India. Taj Mahal is the pride of India for which we all should feel pride of and which has attracted tourists from all across the world! The real blot is UP state itself for whom Bana ki Moon who is former UN Secretary General had said that it is “crime and rape capital of India” yet no effort is being made to create any more benches here other than the one already at Lucknow! Is this fair?
The lawyers of West UP are fighting people’s fight for justice and not a fight for themselves! If a bench is created here it is the litigants of West UP who will be saved from the unnecessary trouble of getting reservation done to Allahabad which many times is not available in which case they have to travel without reservation whole night to Allahabad and many times train are late by many hours which further wastes their time and then they are unable to find many times a lodge to spend a night especially those who are not so rich and then hire expensive lawyers etc! This alone explains why lawyers of West UP keep agitating here but see how they are lathicharged even when they are peacefully protesting and most senior and esteemed lawyers as also woman lawyers are beaten black and blue even when they did not do anything that could be said to be provoking! Nothing can be more shameful and disgusting!