Skip to main content

OFF WITH HIS HEAD

This article was written at that time when UP Cabinet had taken a decision to set up a bench of Allahabad High Court for the western region in 1981. The Allahabad lawyers had gone on strike, the longest in its history. This was to place the correct perspective before the people and mobilise public support.

The U.P. Cabinets decision to set up a bench of the Allahabad High Court in the western region reminds one of the Queen of heart’s decision. ‘Off with his head’ in ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

The Chief Minister expressed his ignorance about the recommendation of the Law Commission and the correspondence on the subject. The Law Commission in its fourth report rejected the view that splitting of the high court was necessary in order to take justice to the door of the litigant.

MC Seetalvad, the then Chairman of Law Commission, says (My life, Law and other things page 247),
‘lawyers who appeared on behalf of the Lucknow Bar Association conceded in private that the Lucknow bench should be abolished. Similar views were expressed by advocates practising before different benches of the M.P High Court and the Rajasthan High Court.'


Chief Justice B Dayal of the MP High Court wrote a letter to the then Law Minister seeking abolition of benches in Madhya Pradesh. Sri HR Gokhale agreed but could not do it because of political reasons. In a conference of Chief Justices in 1979 it was said that if the High Court benches were created, in no time benches of the Supreme Court would be created not only in the south but also in east and west.

There can’t be benches of a High Court. Lucknow Bench was created due to historical necessity. The creation of benches does not improve the administration of justice. It undermines it. The difference in expense due to distance is so insignificant that merely for its sake proper administration of justice cannot be sacrificed. If there are arrears at Allahabad it is not because of the High Court is situated at Allahabad but because there are not enough judges and other staff. Experience shows, splitting of the Courts: increases arrears, reduces the uniformity a,amongst the judges, and diminishes the independence not only of the bar but also of the bench. There is no justification for creation of any bench nor should one be created. A State may be divided if need be.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

THE UNIFORM MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE BILL...

Two areas are close to my heart, namely uniform civil code and population control. I had drafted bills in late 1990's before I was  offered judgeship. The bills were distributed in the Parliament at that time but before they could be introduced (whether as a bill from the public or as a private member bill) the Parliament was dissolved. 
The Central government has asked the Law Commission to examine the issue of implementing the  Uniform Civil Code in detail and submit a report. I thought of publishing the bill relating to Uniform Civil Code that I had drafted.

NIGHT DRAMA THAT SUCCEEDED

Sometime ago, there were headlines in the newspaper 'Night Drama that did not succeed'. Here is the story of a night drama that succeeded. 
Kalyan Singh was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Romesh Bhandari was the Governor. He,  illegally dismissed the Kalyan Singh Government on 21st February, 1998.  A writ petition was filed the smae night and he was reinstated. This is the only time that the a deposed head of a State was pput back in saddle by the court. Here is the account of the same. 
The writ petition at the Allahabad High Court was filed by Dr. NKS Gaur, an MLA from Allahabad North and Minister of Higher Education in UP, but for the sake of convenience, the case is referred as 'the Kalyan-Singh case'.  
During my tenure as a judge, it has been matter of speculation/ complaint how I became Additional Advocate General and why was this case entrusted to me. This is explained in Appendix-I to this article. In order to complete the picture, Romesh Bhandari's …

THE HABEAS CORPUS CASE

Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees right to the life and liberty. Right to move to the court to enforce Article 21 was suspended under Article 359 of the Constitution during internal emergency (1975-77). Soon a question arose if, in such a situation, a writ of Habeas Corpus is maintainable? ADM Jabalpur Vs Shiv Kant Shukla AIR 1976 SC 1207 : (1976)2 scc 521: 1976 UJ (SC) 610: 1976 Cr LR (SC) 303: 1976 CrL J 1945 (SC) (the Habeas Corpus case) dealt with this question. This article, written 20 years after the aforesaid case was decided, narrates about the incidents, lawyers and judges connected with that case and what has happened to them.
‘The time has come’ The Walrus said ‘To talk of many things:
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax-
Of cabbages - and kings-
And why the sea is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings’ Through the Looking Glass; Lewis Carroll