It is so disgusting, shocking and frustrating to see that BJP which is holding the helm of affairs in Centre as well as in State of UP is not listening to its own MPs both in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha as well as its own Union Ministers who are repeatedly demanding the creation of a high court bench in West UP yet Centre is just refusing to relent! Why is Centre so intransigent about not relenting to what is the legitimate and popular demand of the more than 9 crore people of West UP by which the litigants and seekers of justice would be saved from the unnecessary trouble of travelling so far more than 700 to 750 km on an average all the way to Allahabad to seek justice by creating a high court bench in any of the 26 districts of West UP? Why Centre pompously inaugurates 14 lane national highway by which time spent in covering the distance between Meerut and other districts to Delhi stands reduced by one or two hours but is not ready to do anything by which the people are saved from the trouble of travelling so far to Allahabad to seek justice?
Why Centre is not listening to even its own BJP MP and former Union Minister Sanjeev Baliyan who candidly pointed out to Lok Sabha Speaker in Zero Hour that from his Muzaffarnagar constituency, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Rajasthan High Court, Madhya Pradesh High Court and above all even Lahore High Court in Pakistan which is about 498 km is nearer than Allahabad High Court which is 730 km away? He pointed out that about 15 lakh cases of West UP were pending which is more than many states pending cases! He pointed out that Maharashtra with 8 crore population has bench and 3 benches and Madhya Pradesh with 7 crore population has high court and 2 benches but West UP with more than 8 crore population has not even a bench! Taking the bull by the horns, he did not shy away from even saying that the stiff opposition by lawyers from Allahabad High Court is no ground to deny West UP a bench and said that for 10,000 lawyers of Allahabad, the neck of 8 crore people of West UP cannot be stifled! There is a lot of merit in what he has said! But why is BJP led by PM Modi not listening?
Why BJP is not listening even to Kanta Kardam who is Rajya Sabha MP and who too has said that she will raise the demand for a bench in Rajya Sabha? She said that this is not a demand just of lawyers but is a justified demand of the people of West UP and creation of a bench here is imperative. Rajinder Agrawal who is BJP MP from Meerut rightly said that all MPs from West UP are united in demanding a high court bench for West UP.
Even Gen VK Singh who is Union Minister and BJP MP from Ghaziabad has supported this legitimate demand and made the lawyers meet Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in March and he too supported the demand for a bench in West UP! Even Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh too has reiterated time and again his firm and full support for the creation of a high court bench in West UP! Amit Shah too had assured his support for bench in West UP while meeting a delegation of lawyers in Meerut! Still why even after more than 4 years of being in power in Centre and nearly one and a half year in UP is Centre not taking any step to create a bench in West UP?
We all know how Sampoornanand who was UP CM had demanded the creation of a bench in West UP from Centre in 1955 but Centre refused even though a bench was created in Lucknow in 1948 for just 12 districts but for nearly 40 districts of West UP including those now in Uttarakhand not a single bench was approved by the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru! Even ND Tiwari as UP CM had proposed the creation of a bench in West UP but Centre again didn’t accept it! Mayawati as UP CM even proposed the creation of West UP as a separate state but again Centre didn’t accept it!
Now let us have a glimpse of the distance of different districts from Agra and Meerut. The distance from different districts of West UP till Allahabad varies from 600 to 800 km. But the distance from different districts to Meerut and Agra stands considerably reduced and it is Meerut which is close to most of the districts! The distance of different districts from Meerut and Agra is as follows: –
Districts Meerut Agra
Meerut 00 243
Muzaffarnagar 58 301
Saharanpur 117 360
Baghpat 45 248
Ghaziabad 46 203
Bijnore 80 316
Gautambuddhnagar 83 161
Bulandshahar 69 180
Shamli 67 301
Hapur 29 213
Sambhal 117 187
Amroha 94 226
Rampur 146 245
Moradabad 130 220
Bareilly 195 210
Aligarh 133 88
Hathras 167 60
Mathura 196 59
Etah 203 83
Mainpuri 261 113
Agra 243 00
The lawyers of West UP are fighting people’s struggle who are worst affected as they have to travel more than 700 to 800 km on an average all the way to Allahabad to attend court hearings and many times trains get late and many times have to travel without reservation! How many people can afford to go by plane as some lawyers of Allahabad argue? Very few!
What purpose is served by creating a single bench for such a large state like UP which has maximum population more than 22 crore as UP CM Yogi Adityanath keeps mentioning repeatedly, maximum villages more than one lakh whereas no other state has more than 5000 villages, maximum MPs for Lok Sabha at 80, maximum MPs for Rajya Sabha at 31, maximum MLAs in Vidhan Sabha at 404, maximum MLAs in Vidhan Parishad at 104, maximum towns more than 900, maximum pending cases more than 10 lakh and here too West UP owes for more than half of them, maximum hate crimes, maximum Judges in high court at 160, maximum PM since independence, maximum Mayors, maximum elected representatives at all levels and is among the largest states still has just one high court bench created by Jawaharlal Nehru more than 70 years back on July 1 in 1948 but not a single for West UP even 70 years later in 2018! How can this be ever justified?
Why even six months continuous strike by lawyers of 26 districts of West UP thrice as they did in 2001, three to four months strike as they did in 2014-15, two months as they did in 2010 and one month as they did in 2009 apart from the strike every and even many times apart from the many strike for weeks every year has failed to shake Centre in taking any concrete step for creating a high court bench in West UP? Why even the right and laudable legal advice rendered by one of the most eminent jurist of India Soli J Sorabjee in his capacity as Attorney General that, “Centre is empowered to create a high court bench in West UP without any recommendation from the Chief Justice or Chief Minister or anyone else in this regard” failed to shake Centre in creating a bench in West UP promptly? Why Centre even disregarded what former Chairman of Supreme Court Bar Association BN Krishnamani said so eloquently that, “Only by the creation of a high court bench in any of the districts in West UP will the people living there get real justice”? If UP can’t be given more benches and West UP can’t have even one bench then all benches in India must be disbanded right now because it is the people of West UP who are suffering the most because of no bench here and have to travel the most!
It is indisputable that as per the Section 51 of the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, the Centre can create a high court bench in any of these 3 states – UP, Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir directly by bringing it up in Parliament. BJP Rajya Sabha MP Prakash Singh Tomar himself on 25th July raised his voice demanding bench in West UP and wondered why when Centre is empowered to create a bench in UP without any recommendation from the Chief Minister or Chief Justice is not taking necessary step in this direction! Centre does not need any recommendation from State Government or the Chief Justice as has been very wrongly propagated for many decades by Centre as it wants to just avoid it on any specious pretext! After Centre declares bench for West UP, State Government has to just allot land for it.
What a national disgrace that these very 3 states – Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar keep on grabbing the national news headlines for all the wrong reasons as crime incidents keep multiplying very rapidly and what is worst is Centre’s irrational stand to not allow a single more bench in any of these 3 states! Why Centre even disregarded what former Chairman of Supreme Court Bar Association BN Krishnamani said that, “Only by the creation of a high court bench in any of the districts in West UP will the people living there get real justice”? Why Centre is ignoring even what Atal Bihari Vajpayee demanded the setting up of a bench in West UP as Opposition Leader way back in 1986 right inside Parliament?
Why Centre fails to appreciate that if bench is created in any of the 26 districts of West UP, all the more than 9 crore people will stand to gain equally irrespective of religion, caste, creed, community or gender? Why Centre fails to appreciate that when 2 high court benches more can be created for just 4 and 8 districts of Karnataka at Dharwad and Gulbarga which already had bench at Hubli and which has just 6 crore population and not even two lakh pending cases whereas West UP has more than 5 lakh pending cases and UP more than 10 lakh similarly Maharashtra already had 3 benches at Nagpur, Panaji and Aurangabad and one more now created at Kolhapur, Assam with just about 2 crore population had 7 high court benches before Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura were given high court itself for just 27, 29 and 36 lakh population, Sikkim with just 6 lakh population and less than 100 pending cases has high court and above all even Port Blair with just 3 lakh population has bench then why is West UP with more than 9 crore population and more than half of the total pending cases of UP has not even a single bench of high court?
Why Centre is ignoring even the legitimate voices of its own leaders from West UP like Union Minister Satyapal Singh who demanded 5 benches for UP at Meerut, Agra, Jhansi, Gorakhpur and Varanasi and not prepared to create even a single bench not just in West UP but in any hook and corner of UP except continuing with the one already at Lucknow? Why Centre is clinging with the recommendation made by the Law Commission in 1956 in its fourth report that more benches should not be created while not caring for the 230th report of Law Commission made in 2009 which recommended creation of more benches and here too why just UP is being singled out?
Why can’t one bench at least be approved straightaway for West UP at any of the 26 districts? Why should the more than 9 crore people of West UP be denied “speedy Justice”, “justice at doorsteps” and “affordable cheap justice”? Why should they be made to travel so far even after more than 70 years of independence? Why Lucknow has high court bench since 1948 for just 12 districts with just 62,000 square km area even though it is so near to Allahabad just 200 km away but West UP with 26 districts and more than 98,933 square km has not even a bench 70 years later in 2018? If Lucknow is capital then so are Bhopal which is capital of Madhya Pradesh, Bhubaneshwar which is capital of Odisha, Dehradun which is capital of Uttarakhand and Thiruvananthapuram which is capital of Kerala but they have neither high court nor bench! Then why both high court and bench only for Eastern UP and nothing for West UP? Why can’t this be remedied immediately?
Rajendra Singhj Jani, President Meerut Bar Association,
Chairman Of The Central Action Committee For Establishment Of High Court Bench In Western UP,
Chamber No. 7, Civil Court,
Near Western Kutchery Gate,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.