It is both disgusting and shocking to note that the lawyers of 22 West UP districts who had gathered in Meerut on October 14 to oppose the visit of West Bengal Governor Kesarinath Tripathi (former Speaker of the UP Legislative Assembly) to a function in Chaudhary Charan Singh University were brutally lathicharged. Many lawyers sustained injuries. Even reputed lawyers like Chaudhary Narendrapal Singh, MP Sharma, OP Sharma and Anil Jangala were not spared! Is this the way lawyers should be treated in India?
Many lawyers had to be hospitalized! Rohitashawa Kumar Aggarwal who is the President of the Meerut Bar Association himself said “Unless police officials are transferred or suspended the lawyers’ strike would continue.”
The lawyers opposed Tripathi’s visit to Meerut because they felt that he was instrumental in pressurizing the State Government not to create a High Court Bench in West UP even though the Mayawati Government had decided to create the Bench way back in 1995-96.
Vinod Rana who is also a senior lawyer and has always been in leading the agitation for a High Court Bench was badly wounded in both arms. The police allegedly manhandled Rana and misbehaved with him in the most ugly manner.
It is heartening to note that many social organizations have openly come out in support of West UP lawyers. I have pinpointedly said in my articles that when a Bench of the Allahabad High Court could be created by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru way back in 1948 (on July 1) then why after 70 years a third Bench cannot be set up in any of the 26 districts of West UP? Why should more than nine crore people of West UP travel all the way to Allahabad to attend High Court hearings every now and then? Trains run late many times and litigants have to bear all kinds of problems and waste huge money also. When a High Court Bench can be created in Lucknow which is so close to Allahabad, why can’t it be set up in West UP which is 700-800 km away from Allahabad?
Why different parameters for different Indian capital cities and in respect of High Court Benches? Why no High Court or Bench for Bhopal, Bhubaneswar and Dehradun? Why have they been singled out? When UP has been slammed by the former UN Secretary General as the “crime and rape capital” of India it has the least number of High Court Benches.
JUSTICE JASWANT SINGH PANEL SUGGESTIONS
West UP which has more than half of the pending cases of the state and which tops in rape, gangrape, riots and murder, cases has not even a single Bench of the High Court. The Justice Jaswant Singh Commission had recommended the setting up of three Benches for West UP at Agra, Nainital and Dehradun but the Centre did not create even a single Bench though on its recommendations Benches were created at Aurangabad (Maharashtra), Jalpaiguri (West Bengal) and Madurai (Tamil Nadu).
Two more High Court Benches were created as Circuit Benches for Karnataka at Dharwad and Gulbarga for just four and eight 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 a strike demanding a Bench for six months in 2001, one month in 2010, three months in 2014-15, apart from their strike on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Why such a raw treatment for West UP alone which has more than nine crore population?
High Courts were created for just 14 lakh, 18 lakh or 20 lakh people of Meghalaya, Tripura and Manipur but not a single Bench for the 9 crore people of West UP. UP has more than 10 lakh pending court cases whereas Maharashtra, Karnataka and Assam have not even more than one lakh cases pending but still they have got three High Court Benches. Andaman and Nicobar islands with three lakh population has a Bench but not West UP with nine crore population. Why?
Why has the 230th report of the Law Commission which recommended the setting up of more High Court Benches been implemented only in Karnataka where two more Benches were set up even though a Bench already existed at Hubli?
The lawyers of West UP are fighting for justice for people and not for themselves! If a Bench is set up it is the litigants of West UP who will be saved from the unnecessary trouble of getting railway seat reservation done to Allahabad which many a time is not available. Several times trains are late by many hours which further wastes their time. All this explains the demand of West UP lawyers who have been agitating for justice for years.