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In a first, the Supreme Court which is the highest court of our country has very clearly directed the Centre to constitute special courts to exclusively try criminal cases involving politicians.
Set Up Special Courts To Try Politicians In Criminal Cases: SC Directs Centre
 A Bench of Supreme Court comprising of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha have in their considered opinion held that, “In so far as setting up of Special Courts are concerned, setting up of Special Courts and infrastructure would be dependent on the availability of finances with the States…the problem can be resolved by having a central scheme for setting up of courts exclusively to deal with criminal cases involving political persons on the lines of the Fast Track Courts which were set up by the Central Government for a period of five years and extended further, which scheme has now been discontinued. Scheme to give effect to the above may be laid before the Court on the next date fixed, indicating the amount of funds that can be earmarked for setting up of Special Courts.” Centre must comply with what Supreme Court has said as soon as possible so that politicians with criminal background are shunted out permanently from politics at the earliest.
                                            While craving for the exclusive indulgence of my esteemed readers, let me inform them that the Bench which was hearing a petition filed by BJP leader Ashwani Upadhyay seeking life time bans on convicted politicians from contesting elections, accepted Additional Solicitor General Atmaram Nadkarni’s request to give the Centre six weeks to submit details of the scheme. The matter will now come up for hearing on December 13. There is lot of merit and force in what Ashwani is seeking from Supreme Court and there is no valid reason why life time ban should not be imposed on convicted politicians.
                                               It cannot be lightly dismissed nor would it be out of context to mention here that the Election Commission too on November 1 has proposed life ban for MPs/MLAs convicted in criminal cases in view of the rising trend of criminalization in politics. Presently we see how just a six-year ban is imposed on convicted politicians under the Representation of People’s Act. Politics has become a den for criminals and to purge this den from criminals, it is imperative that they are punished with life ban if they are convicted.
                                            What is most perplexing is that on such a contentious and all important issue which can throw out all convicted politicians permanently from politics we see the unpalatable truth before us that Centre has chosen to remain non-committal. Additional Solicitor General Atmaram Nadkarni told the court that the recommendations of both the Election Commission and the Law Commission of India were pending with the Centre. However, it is a matter of some consolation that on the other key issue of fast-tracking trial against tainted politicians we saw a unanimity between the Election Commission and the Centre with both in favour of setting up of Special Courts.
                                       It is noteworthy that by a rough estimate, the Centre said about 1,000 courts would have to be set up. The Bench told the Centre to first frame the scheme and allocate funds following which States could follow suit by setting up the infrastructure required to try criminal cases against MPs and MLAs. The Additional Solicitor General Atmaram Nadkarni agreed to frame the scheme before December 13 which is the next date of hearing.  
                                                         Be it noted, senior advocate Meenakshi Arora while appearing for Election Commission, informed the Bench that the Election Commission was in “support” of a life ban on convicted MPs/MLAs who stand disqualified for 6 years on their conviction in a criminal case punishable with a sentence of two or more years as stipulated under Section 8(3) of the Representation of the People’s Act, 1951. She said that the Election Commission had recommended so to the Centre with a view to curb the growing criminalization of politics. It is because of criminalization of politics that we see that criminals are able to manipulate everything in their own favour as they wield the keys to the corridors of power which is most dangerous and concerning!
                                           Truth be told, during the hearing, the Centre drew the Apex Court’s ire for saying that though it was in favour of special courts trying cases against politicians and their speedy disposal, the constitution of such courts was primarily the responsibility of the states. Justice Ranjan Gogoi spared no punches in hitting out at Centre by saying that, “You say you have no opposition to fast track courts. Same time you say states have to set up… On one hand, you are making a commitment and at the same time, you are washing your hands off.” The Apex Court also referred to a report submitted to it by an NGO associated with electoral reforms named Association of Democratic Rights which disclosed names of 1581 MPs/MLAs facing 13,500 criminal cases in the present Lok Sabha and State Assemblies.    
                                             Be it noted, the Apex Court also asked Centre to inform it about the status of these 1581 criminal cases pending against lawmakers at the time of filing nominations to the 2014 elections. It also must be recalled here that in an order dated March 10, 2014, the Supreme Court had directed that the cases against legislators be expedited and disposed within a year. The Apex Court minced absolutely no words in asking this most categorically that, “How many of 1581 cases involving Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and Members of Parliament (MPs) (as declared at the time of filing of the nomination papers to the 2014 elections) have been disposed of within the time frame of one year as envisaged by this Court  by order dated 10th March, 2014 passed in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 536 of 2011. How many of these cases which have been finally decided have ended in acquittal/conviction of MPs and MLAs, as may be?”
                                                     As it turned out, the Bench also wanted to know if any new criminal case had been lodged against any present or former MP or MLA between 2014 and 2017 and its status. Underlining the dire need for Special Courts, Justice Ranjan Gogoi referred to the workload of trial courts across the country. At any point of time, each court was handling as many as 4200 cases, Gogoi said. He also added that, “But 4200 is much above optimal. Even if the Supreme Court says that the courts should dispose of cases in one year, that will be possible only if these courts were handling cases involving lawmakers and nothing else.”
                                                  Truly speaking, the Judges did not favour the suggestion that the proposed Special Courts be clubbed with other designated courts like CBI courts. It must be made mandatory for all candidates contesting elections that they should declare their assets and list criminal cases against them, if any and the latest position of those criminal cases whether they have been declared guilty or is still just pending. No doubt, it is a matter of grave concern that criminalisation of politics is increasing very rapidly and still they are not barred permanently from contesting elections.
                                          It would be pertinent to note here that the Supreme Court on October 31 sought to know the rate of conviction of politicians in criminal cases and asked whether its direction to complete trial against them within a year was being effectively implemented. The Apex Court said that data about the conviction rate of politicians in criminal cases would open up a “new dimension” and sought to know whether it would act as a “deterrent” if the trial against lawmakers is completed in a year. Very rightly so!
                                       As things stand, a Bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha said that, “We would also like to know what is the rate of conviction. That will throw open a new dimension. We will see that criminal cases against politicians, if it does not end in conviction, then why? What are the reasons for it?” The top court made these observations while hearing petitions seeking to declare the provisions of the Representation of People (RP) Act, which bar convicted politician from contesting elections for six years after serving jail term, as ultra vires to the Constitution. Referring to data, the counsel claimed that an estimated 34 percent of Parliamentarians had a criminal record.
                                Interestingly enough, the Bench observed that a direction was earlier passed by the top court that trial against politicians should be completed within a year and wanted to know how effectively was that order being implemented. The court also asked what would happen to a Judge when charges were framed against him or an FIR lodged. To this, the counsel replied that, “The court has laid down such a high and rigorous standards for Judges. If this is the position in the case of Judges, why can’t the same be there in case of politicians.”     
                                   While there can be no denying that the setting up of Special Courts to try criminal cases is a good step but it must be also ensured that adequate Judges are appointed for deciding such cases and they are fast tracked and all necessary infrastructure is provided to achieve the aforesaid purpose! Only then will the setting up of Special Courts will serve the desired purpose. Even Supreme Court itself had said that, “It takes years, probably decades, to complete a trial against a politician. By which time, he would have served as a minister or legislator several times over.” This is what needs to be checked and this is what that is most concerning!
                                   Needless to say, Justice Ranjan Gogoi in his preliminary remarks, observed that all these issues of life-time ban on convicted politicians, implementation of earlier court orders that mandated time bound disposal of such cases and automatic disqualification of convicted lawmakers can be addressed if cases against politicians are dealt by Special Courts exclusively set up for the purpose. He said that, “There are only 17,000 courts in India. Once the Special Courts finish their work, they can continue functioning as normal courts. A thousand courts more are welcome….You have to appoint public prosecutors, provide infrastructure.” Very rightly said! No denying or disputing it!
                                       According to the Department of Justice, more than 6.5 lakh cases are pending in fast track courts in the country. This is quite a whooping figure. It should be reduced to a bare minimum. Out of these cases, there are about 1500 in Delhi alone. Without adequate infrastructure and qualified Judges, these fast track courts are ill equipped to deal with such a huge volume of cases. Therefore, what must be first and foremost addressed is proper infrastructure and adequate qualified Judges. Only then will the fast track courts serve their true purpose and ensure that politicians don’t exploit our snail paced judicial system in their own favour!
                                     Why so much of leniency is shown towards politicians alone? Why when a person is disqualified from becoming a Judge or IAS or IPS or joining Army or any other government service even if someone registers a false case then why are politicians alone exempted from it and are given the long rope to label it as “politically motivated”? Why is it not appreciated that considering the palpable truth that politicians are the basic pillars of governance who exercise control over police, bureaucrats and all other services and people also look on them as their ideal then why should criminals be allowed entry in politics at the first place?
                                          This is the root cause of rapid criminalization of politics and politics becoming the den of criminals! This has a pervasive effect on all other services and on our society as a whole which is always sought to be ignored. We have seen how even dacoits and mafias are easily able to enter politics by power of their money and muscle and then make a complete mockery of our entire democratic system! Should this be allowed to happen at the first place? The unpalatable truth is that we have allowed this right under our nose since the last 70 years! How can those charged with rioting, murder, attempt to murder, rape, gang rape, corruption, forgery and cheating etc be ever loyal in discharging his duties as MP or MLA? But what a pity that they have always been exempted instead of setting the highest bar for them! This under no circumstances can ever be justified! All said and done, there has to be zero tolerance for criminalization of politics. There can be no compromise on this under any circumstances! On a concluding note, it must be said that the Supreme Court has rightly directed Centre to set up Special Courts to try politicians in criminal cases and Centre must do it on a war footing!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh. 
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Let me start running my pen by first and foremost pointing out that the Supreme Court on November 2, 2017 commenced a crucial hearing to determine whether the elected government or the Lieutenant Governor enjoys supremacy in administration of the Union Territory of Delhi, observing that the constitutional scheme was prima facie tilted in favour of the LG. 
LG Has Primacy But Can’t Sit On Files: SC
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The Supreme Court said that the Constitution “prima facie” gives primacy to the Lieutenant Governor in the affairs of Delhi, but observed that the LG cannot sit on files sent for approval by an elected government. No doubt, if an LG just sits on the file, he is doing nothing but making an open mockery of the elected mandate which the Chief Minister secured in the elections and this can never be good for the health of a vibrant democratic country like India!
                                       While craving for the exclusive indulgence of my esteemed readers, let me inform them that a five-Judge Constitution Bench is hearing a clutch of petitions by the Delhi government against a Delhi High Court decision that declared the LG, who reports to the Centre as the administrative head of the national capital. The Apex Court too seemed to agree with this view and said that “land, police and public order” are not under the purview of the Delhi government. But what cannot be allowed to go unnoticed is that the Bench of Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said that, “The LG cannot stultify an executive decision by sitting over a file. He must exercise his power in a reasonable time.”
                                  For my esteemed readers exclusive indulgence, let me also inform them that the Bench also made it clear that in case of differences with the ministers, he should refer the matter to the President and must spell out the reasons. He cannot just straightaway refuse to give reasons in any matter. It must be revealed here that these observations have given a glimmer of hope to the Arvind Kejriwal Government which had approached the Apex Court to determine the powers of the LG under Article 239AA(4) according to which in case of “difference of opinion” between the LG and the elected Government, the former has power to refer the matter to President, or in the event of urgency pass necessary orders for immediate action.     
                                     Before proceeding ahead, let me now mention some flashpoints which showed how unenviable the tussle has been going on between the LG and the Delhi CM since quite a long time.  Here are some government orders that were either struck down or delayed by LG. They are as follows: -
Mohalla clinics: AAP MLAs staged sit-in at LG’s office on August 30. AAP MLAs alleged that LG was sitting on the file for months. Soon after on September 4, LG gave clearance.
Teachers recruitment: Delhi government alleged files were not shown to Education Minister Manish Sisodia. LG Blamed his department for not following procedure.
Slum rehabilitation: Cleared by Cabinet on June 20. File with LG after being sent on July 10.
App-based premium buses: LG struck down proposal. Alleged that it was intended to benefit a certain company.
Mohalla sabhas: Cabinet cleared project in June. Files await LG’s nod. Rs 350 crore funds unutilized.
Regularisation of guest teachers. Manish Sisodia who is Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister has written to the LG Anil Baijal reminding him about the pending Bill on regularization of guest teachers that was passed by the Delhi State Assembly in early October. Sisodia alleged that he had sought an appointment with LG along with guest teachers but he refused to meet all and only agreed to meet Sisodia alone.
Increase of stamp duty and circle rate of agricultural land.
Setting up of inquiry commission to probe CNG fitness scam, irregularities in Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA).
                                    Be it noted, the Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan said they will examine the scope of Article 239AA, which clearly stipulates the L-G’s “primacy” over decisions taken with regard to Delhi. The Apex Court urged the Delhi Government to propose a middle path that can allow both the LG and the elected Government to coexist “harmoniously”. Very rightly so!
                                       Needless to say, Justice DY Chandrachud orally observed that, “The Lieutenant Governor (LG) of Delhi cannot stultify proposals or schemes forwarded by the Council of Ministers to him by simply sitting on it.” He also added that, “He [the LG] is bound to pass the difference of opinion [between the LG and the Council of Ministers] to the President for early resolution.” Justice Chandrachud’s observations came on the first day of a five-Judge Constitution Bench hearing of a batch of nine appeals filed by the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government against an August 4, 2016 verdict of the Delhi High Court.
                                         To put things in perspective, while appearing for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government in Delhi, senior advocate Gopal Subramanium told the Bench that such was the state of affairs in the Capital that appointment to fill up nearly one lakh vacant posts at all levels, from peons to higher posts, is stuck as the files have remained pending with the LG office. Subramanium also minced no words to point out that the LG calls meeting with Secretaries bypassing Ministers who are the departmental heads. This certainly is not a healthy precedent.
                                      Truth be told, Gopal Subramanium also made it a point to ask categorically that, “Why is there an elected Government in the first place? This matter is not about supremacy, but to make a democratic experiment provided by Parliament a success. It can’t be that the LG has to disagree with you on anything and everything and block governance.” Kejriwal also was at pains to point out that, “My government is so powerless that I can’t even get my peon appointed.” He has also complained to the Supreme Court that the Centre through the Lieutenant Governor who acted as a “super governor”, had completely paralysed the elected AAP government by stalling its every welfare scheme.      
                                    As things stand, Gopal Subramanium said that, “The LG has been exercising powers in such a manner to completely block Delhi government and negate the intent and object of Article 239AA which gave a democratically elected government to Delhi.” He also rightly pointed out that, “The purpose of Article 239AA was to provide some kind of voice to the people. We are not contesting parliamentary supremacy. But there must be an elbow room for the Legislative Assembly…Everything we do does not require the concurrence of the LG.”
                                             He also submitted that, “The Delhi High Court actually said this LG has special powers greater than the President, greater than the Governors of States.”  It cannot be lost on us that since the formation of the AAP government in 2015 in Delhi, it has been locked in a fierce turf war with the LG over whose writ should run in Delhi. This is what is most unfortunate!
                                                   To be sure, Article 239AA was inserted in the Constitution by the 69th Constitutional Amendment Act to give Delhi an Assembly and an elected government with a Council of Ministers headed by a Chief Minister but without the power to legislate or control land, law and order and police. This is what has become the bone of contention between the LG and the Chief Minister of Delhi. The Kejriwal government approached the Supreme Court to demarcate the powers between the Centre and the Delhi government for smooth exercise of executive functions by the elected government.     
                                             Truly speaking, when the Bench said a proviso in Article 239AA prima facie appeared to suggest that the LG had primacy in governance of Delhi, Gopal Subramanium said that, “Is it the intent of the constitutional provision to make civil servants openly defy the elected government? Is it the mandate of the constitutional provision that the LG must stall every scheme of the Delhi government – extending the functioning of mohalla clinics for one year, regularising posts of teachers in municipal schools, and filling up of nearly one lakh sanctioned posts at various levels through a transparent process? Now, the ministers as departmental heads have to fall at the feet of the bureaucrats to implement public welfare schemes.”
                                                   Not stopping here, it was further submitted that, “Bureaucrats pay no heed to others from ministers and openly say that they will await nod from the LG’s office. Is this what is contemplated in Article 239AA, which makes the chief minister accountable to the people? The LG keeps sitting on files which are required to be cleared to allow day to day functioning of the Delhi government. Delhi government cannot appoint lawyers of its own choice. If everything is going to be stultified by the LG, why have an elected government at all in Delhi?” He also however admitted in the same breath that, “In egregious situations where there is palpable abuse of authority, the LG can indeed intervene as a delegate of the President.” He also described the LG as a watchdog.   
                                       It would be pertinent to mention here that the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra orally observed that, “The Lieutenant Governor (LG) cannot differ with each and any administrative decision of the Delhi government. Though having every authority to differ, his disagreement with the Delhi government should not be trivial or contrived, but substantive. Aid and advice (of the Delhi government) should be accepted and respected unless there is an abuse of authority.”
                                     It would be equally pertinent to mention here that the CJI Dipak Misra also went on to add that, “The intervention [of the LG] does not mean he will have confrontation. It should be fact and issue-oriented on objective parameters. The LG should conduct his constitutional duties, keeping in mind factors like he is an august head, keeping in mind the special status of Delhi as the National Capital, what was intended by Parliament in the 69th Constitutional Amendment, not act in a way to defeat the intent of the constitutional provision of Article 239AA of harmonious governance and, most importantly, citizenry’s trust.” Justice DY Chandrachud observed that, “He [LG] cannot supplant the administration”.
                                   While making the picture further clear, Justice Ashok Bhushan remarked that it was not constitutionally contemplated that one man’s concurrence would be required for each and everything that an entire ministry does. CJI Dipak Misra said the LG need not concur with everything. Referring to the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act of 1991, the Chief Justice said the Delhi government is bound to intimate the LG on taking a policy decision. He also made it clear to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal that, “You are bound to intimate the LG, but you cannot say that the LG has to concur.”
                                         All said and done, both Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal must adhere to what the top court has said and to what CJI Dipak Misra has advised. No doubt, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal deserves primacy in all the affairs of Delhi but the LG cannot just sit on files and decisions cannot just keep hanging in fire indefinitely. The interests of the people of Delhi must be always supreme under all circumstances and both the LG and the Delhi CM must always bear it in mind always while working in their offices!
                                           It is high time and now they must both understand and fully appreciate the basic undeniable truth that the more they work harmoniously in tandem with each other, the more the wheels of governance will run smoother and better and the more the people of Delhi will stand to gain in the longer run! There can be no denying or disputing this! This is exactly what the Supreme Court too wants as is explicit by what it has said so far!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.
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It is both disgusting and shocking to note 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, 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.
Lathicharge On Lawyers Of West UP Staging Peaceful Protest In Meerut Is Disgusting And Shocking

                                          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 and can even extend further.
                                           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!
                                         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?     
                                          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 Ban ki Moon 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 even the rape of a 100 year old woman has failed to shake our politicians and jolt them to creating a high court bench in West UP? Why even the repeated attacks on foreigners as happened with a Swiss couple in Agra just recently has failed to shake our politicians to initiate steps to create a high court bench in West UP? 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 but other big states like UP and Bihar notorious for lawlessness and crime have been left out in the cold to shiver and suffer for themselves by braving themselves all the crime and lawlessness?
                                         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, Dr Satyapal Singh who is former Mumbai Police Commissioner and just recently made Union Minister who advocated creation of 5 high court benches in UP at Meerut, Agra, Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Jhansi but not one bench is being created in the whole of UP except the one that already exists at Lucknow created way back in 1948 by former PM Jawaharlal Nehru? Why many others from BJP also like Gen VK Singh have also 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! Here too it is West UP that is witnessing maximum crime and maximum killings and maximum riots still no high court bench is being created here even after more than 70 years of independence? 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 worst of all, 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! They are not asking anything for themselves but are asking for just a high court bench in any of the 26 districts of West UP at either Meerut or Ghaziabad or Noida or Hapur or Greater Noida or Muzaffarnagar or any other district of West UP so that people don’t have to waste so much time in getting reservation done, in travelling so far to Allahabad about 700-800 km away and suffer all other inconveniences but Centre is just refusing to budge at all! Why? It is high time and Centre must have some pity on at least aged women like the 100 year old woman who was raped just recently in Meerut and who would have to travel 700-800 km all the way to Allahabad to seek justice! Centre must act now!   
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.

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