A group of lawyers under the name ‘Lawyers for High Court Bench in Western Uttar Pradesh’ met in the Supreme Court arbitration room today and resolved to demand a permanent high court bench at any location in western UP, from the UP state government, the central government and the Allahbad high court.
They also sought support of the Supreme Court Bar Association, Supreme Court Advocates-on-record Association, the Bar Association of India and state bar associations in the matter.
Supreme Court advocate and Nalsar Hyderabad 2006 graduate Ajit Sharma was among the lawyers leading the initiative. Sharma said that “Allahabad High Court is dominated by judges from Allahabad” , and with the “creation of a bench in Western UP “lawyers in Allahabad stand to lose some work”.
The group cited several reasons for establishment of the permanent bench. These included mounting case pendency, decentralising Allahbad high court due to growing judge vacancies, statistics such as judges to population ratio in other states, and huge litigation costs faced by western UP litigants.
Here are a few extracts from the white paper on Western UP’s high court bench:
The struggle of the people of Western Uttar Pradesh for a permanent bench of Allahabad High Court has been going on continuously since early 1950's when Late Chief Minister Dr. Sampurnanda in 1955 recommended creation of a permanent bench in Western UP to the Central Government.
Total number of cases pending in Allahabad High Court as on 30.9.2011 is 9,93,685, over twice as much as in High Court of Tamil Nadu with 4,69,348 cases. 3,56,707 cases are pending in Bombay High Court. Given that Madras High Court has a permanent bench at Madurai and Bombay High Court has permanent benches at Aurangabad and Nagpur, what can possibly justify only one permanent bench in Uttar Pradesh (at Lucknow)?
(source: Court News, published by the Supreme Court, Volume 4, 2011)
Western Uttar Pradesh, which contributes to over 50% of the work load in Allahabad High Court ought to have a bench of its own since it requires around 10 judges worth of work to constitute a bench.
Litigants in Western Uttar Pradesh have to travel over 600 kms to Allahabad and engage new lawyers in order to file appeals. They often take over night trains, stay in hotels in Allahabad and engage new lawyers with whom they may have no relations or may have never worked with. An adjournment becomes prohibitive. These are additional costs imposed on the litigants from Western Uttar Pradesh