First and foremost, let me express my profound condolences to all those in Kasganj area in Aligarh district whose relative has either been killed or their relatives injured or their shops burnt or their vehicles burnt or their house ransacked etc and that too on the occasion of Republic Day! This is not happening in West UP for the first time nor will happen for the last time. People here are used to facing all this!

Let me be direct in saying: West UP is notorious for riots breaking out at the drop of a hat like we saw during Muzaffarnagar riots, Meerut riots, Agra riots, Saharanpur riots, Bareilly riots etc! Every district of West UP comprising of about 26 districts is volatile still no high court bench here. The litigants are compelled to travel and so are the victims required to travel about 700 to 800 km whole night some times without reservation to Allahabad as there is no high court bench in West UP and have to face all sorts of inconveniences in doing so! 

It is most distressing to learn that this NDA government in Centre led by PM Narendra Modi has decided to create one more high court bench in Kolhapur in Maharashtra to be a circuit bench which later is usually made permanent as we saw in Karnataka where 2 circuit benches were created for 4 and 8 districts at Dharwad and Gulbarga in Karnataka even though there was already a bench in Hubli! Similarly Maharashtra already had benches at Nagpur, Aurangabad and in Goa but for West UP with more than 9 crore population there is not even a single bench and for whole of UP there is just one bench just 150 km away from Allahabad at Lucknow leaving the rest of UP high and dry!

It is most shocking to learn that for just 6 districts of Kolhapur, Solapur, Ratnagiri, Satara, Sangli and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, the Centre has approved a high court bench at Kolhapur which shall start functioning soon but for 26 districts of West UP, the Centre is not prepared to create even a single bench of high court in any of these districts! It is even more shocking to learn that as if this is not enough even Pune will soon get a high court bench. Maharashtra’s Food and Civil Supplies minister Girish Bapat had also said that the city of Pune will also get a circuit bench! Thus when a high court bench will be created at Pune, Maharashtra will have five high court benches and UP would have just one and West UP none! It was in the October 25, 2015 issue of ‘The Indian Express’ newspaper that it was published as headlines that, “Bombay High Court urged to set up bench in Pune, Kolhapur: CM Devendra Fadnavis”. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis had conceded while addressing a conference of the Bar Councils of Maharashtra and Goa that, “The demand of lawyers seeking a bench in Pune and Kolhapur is justified. The Cabinet has decided to approve this demand and has sent a request to the Bombay High Court to set up these benches.” 

The population of Maharashtra is just half of UP still Maharashtra has now 4 benches and one more will be added soon taking the tally to 5 and UP has just one bench at Lucknow and worse still West UP which owes for more than half of UP’s total pending cases, has not even a single bench of high court! Maharashtra has less than 2 lakh pending cases and UP has more than 10 lakh pending cases still UP has just one bench and West IUP which accounts for more than half of the pending cases has no bench! Is this fair? This is atrocious! BJP got so many seats from West UP in Lok Sabha elections and yet see what reward it has got? No bench till now!

To put things in perspective, the elected representatives of West UP like Rajinder Aggarwal who is MP from Meerut demands 3 high court benches at Meerut, Agra and Gorakhpur in Parliament, Satyapal Singh who is MP from Baghpat and also Union Minister demanded 5 high court benches and so also Gen VK Singh who is also Union Minister and MP from Ghaziabad and but their own government is not prepared to set up even a single bench of high court in any hook and corner of not just West UP but entire UP for reasons known best to them! The more than 9 crore people of West UP always live in an atmosphere of getting killed or looted or raped or gangraped or being subjected to any other kind of crime as criminals here fear just no one. Still no bench!

Just recently, a 100 year old woman was raped in Meerut and she died within no time! A young girl of 7 to 8 years was gang raped in Muzaffarnagar and then killed and this keeps happening every now and then but inspite of being so close to Delhi, it never attracts the kind of attention that Nirbhaya gang rape case attracted! In Hapur a young girl of about 8 years was similarly raped and people protested strongly because no one was arrested! No one is safe in West UP and criminals know that because of huge pending cases it will take decades before the case is finally decided and by the time they are decided they would die a natural death! Gang rape on national highway as happened at Bulandshahr and that too when her whole family accompanied her is nothing new!

Chief Justice of UP – Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale rightly pointed out that in Maharashtra woman are so safe that they can go anywhere even in the night but in UP no one is safe even with their family and even on the national highways! Yet see the irony that Maharashtra has now 4 high court benches, shall soon have 5 and UP only one as Justice Jaswant Commission were implemented in Maharashtra to set up a bench at Aurangabad but not in Agra and West UP where maximum crime incidents occur has none as both a single bench at Lucknow and high court at Allahabad are in Eastern UP!

Criminals are ruling the roost and Centre yet firmly reiterates that no bench for West UP! Who is gaining most by Centre’s inaction in setting up a bench here? Criminals and only criminals! Who is suffering most by this inaction? Girls, women and the common people who don’t have police protection with them unlike Ministers who are fully guarded always! 

Truth be told, the latest violence in Kasjang near to Aligarh and the killing of a person and the subsequent huge burning of buses, trucks, buildings etc and fight breaking out on streets clearly indicates that how things are deteriorating from worse to worst in West UP and is the worst reminder that if most strong steps are not taken well in time, things will spiral completely out of control! In 2013 after the Muzaffarnagar riots in which again huge violence broke out and many were injured and killed and many displaced! Still we see no bench here! 

Ban ki Moon who was earlier UN Secretary General had slammed UP and not Karnataka or Maharashtra or Assam as “rape and crime capital of India” still we see that UP has just one high court bench and that too just 150 km away from Allahabad at Lucknow and these 3 states have 3 to 4 benches each! Isn’t it shameful? 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?

It is most disgraceful that more than half of pending cases are from West UP and still not a single bench of high court exists here. This despite the fact that Justice Jaswant Singh Commission had recommended 3 benches for West UP and hilly areas which now constitute a separate state named Uttarakhand but Centre for undisclosed reasons decided not to allow even a single bench anywhere in UP even though on its recommendations benches were created at Aurangabad in Maharashtra, Madurai in Tamil Nadu and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal! This is plain ridiculous!

It is so shocking that Jawaharlal Nehru had the guts to set up a single high court bench for UP so close to Allahabad at Lucknow way back on July 1, 1948 but 70 years down the lane, no PM has shown the guts to create even a single high court bench anywhere else in West UP or in Bundelkhand or in Gorakhpur from where present CM Yogi Adityanath himself hails and who has been getting elected as MP since 1998 and had even raised the demand for a high court bench there inside Parliament but now even after coming close to completing one year in office, it seems he has chosen to just forget everything! Satyapal Singh who is former Mumbai Police Commissioner and represents BJP as MP from Baghpat and recently was sworn in as Union Minister had demanded right inside Parliament the setting up of 5 high court benches for UP at Meerut, Agra, Gorakhpur, Jhansi and Varanasi but what a pity that Centre is not ready to set up even a single bench anywhere in UP even as PM Narendra Modi is all set to complete 4 years in power after few months! This is the real tragedy!

Just recently a woman committed suicide in one of the district of West UP as she was being threatened by those who committed gang rape. Woman are being murdered, raped and gangraped! This has been happening time and again. West UP has become the epicenter of all crime, rape, dacoities, gangrapes, murders and still Centre is not prepared to set up even a single Bench of High Court for any of the 26 districts of West UP!

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 about 700-800 km away to Allahabad to get delayed justice after few decades as Allahabad High Court is already overburdened with more than 10 lakh cases whereas no other state in India has more than 2 lakh pending cases and still some of them have 3 high court benches but UP has just one at Lucknow which is very close to Allahabad? How can all this be justified?

Why no steps are being taken to create a bench here even though it has been promised by many governments in Centre and by many Union Ministers? What stops Centre? Why Centre is ignoring that Soli J Sorabjee who is former Attorney General of India and one of the most reputed lawyer of Supreme Court had himself said that, “A high court bench in West UP can be created by Centre without the recommendation of the Chief Justice or State Government in this behalf”.

BN Krishnamani who is former Chairman of Supreme Court Bar Association had himself said that, “Only by the creation of a high court bench in West UP can the people get justice here”! He was amazed that Lucknow has high court bench since 1948 but West UP not even seventy years later!

Why the population of West UP at more than 9 crore is more than all States except UP of which it is itself a part, Maharashtra and Bihar and here too the area of West UP at 98,000 square km is more than Bihar at 94,000 square km and still it has not been made a separate state? Why West UP accounts for more than half of pending cases of UP and still no attempt is being made to create it as a separate state or at least create a bench here? Why Karnataka with just 6 crore population which is 3 crore less than West UP has not just high court but 3 benches also but West UP with more than 9 crore population has not even a single bench leave alone a high court by making it a separate state?

Why Karnataka has not more than 2 lakh pending cases and West UP has more than 5 lakh pending cases still West UP has not even a single bench compelling litigants from West UP to travel whole night more than 700 km away often without reservation all the way to Allahabad and suffer untold miseries and Karnataka has a high court and 3 benches at Hubli, Dharwad and Gulbarga? Why the 230th report of Law Commission was selectively implemented only in a peaceful state like Karnataka and not in a state like UP which former UN Secretary General Ban ki moon slammed as the “rape and crime capital of India” and which has maximum population more than Pakistan and many other countries, maximum MPs, maximum MLAs, maximum Mayors, maximum villages more than 1 lakh, maximum towns, maximum tehsils, maximum pending cases more than 10 lakh, maximum pending cases in lower courts, maximum Judges, maximum crime, maximum dowry deaths, maximum rapes, maximum gangrapes, maximum custodial deaths, maximum PM since independence including the incumbent PM Narendra Modi who represents Varanasi, maximum delay in deciding of cases and what not and yet still has least high court benches in India? Why is West UP being accorded such a shabby and third rated treatment that the high courts and benches of 8 states and above all even Lahore High Court in Pakistan is nearer to West UP than Allahabad still it has not even a single high court bench here?

The latest shocking Kasganj violence which witnessed naked dance of destruction, death, vandalism, loot and violence underscores the “complete jungleraj” prevailing in West UP yet no serious attempt is being made to create a high court bench here! Is there any logic in it? Why when Centre can create one more bench for Maharashtra which already has 3 benches then why can’t it create one bench at least in West UP?

The lawyers of West UP stopped working on February 15 after learning about it that a circuit bench of high court has been approved at Kolhapur in Maharashtra and resumed working from February 27 only after Gen VK Singh who is a Union Minister assured the lawyers that he would get a meeting of lawyers and PM to convince Modi of the dire need to set up a bench here! For how long will lawyers of West UP keep striking? Already the lawyers of West UP have been struggling since last more than 50 years for a bench and have gone on strike for 6 months also as in 2001, 3 to 4 months as in 2014-15 apart from the everySaturday since May 1981! Centre must relent at least now and create a bench here as it has done in Maharashtra so that the litigants are not compelled to travel whole night about 700 km on an average many times without reservation also all the way to attend court hearings at Allahabad! No more excuses! When Maharashtra can have 4 to 5 benches then why can’t UP have at least 3 to 4 or at least 2 benches? Why West UP has no high court bench even in 2018 when Lucknow can have bench since 1948 even though it was so close to Allaahabad? Centre must act impartially now! 

Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,

s/o Col BPS Sirohi,

A 82, Defence Enclave,

Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,

Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.
Why do some parties immediately pounce on Army Chief Bipin Rawat as soon as he says something? Why is he being mocked every now and then by few bunch of politicians from different parties? Why is he not being accorded the due respect which he so richly deserves?
                                        Why politicians have an allergy towards him? Why some politicians like Sandeep Dikshit dare call him as “Sadak ka Gunda” without realizing the dangerous consequences of what they say so rashly and later very quickly apologise when confronted repeatedly by media? Why politicians don’t realize the amount of damage they inflict on the sacred institution of Army as a whole when time and again they start levelling baseless allegations against him who is the topmost in hierarchy as we saw just recently?
                                           Why politicians get nervous the moment he starts saying anything that suits our national interests? Why politicians don’t accept the irrefutable fact that he has enough ground experience and being an Army Chief if he says something it has to be treated with full seriousness and not just dismissed straightaway without even examining what he has said? Why politicians don’t accept that what Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has said that Pakistan with support from China is pushing illegal migrants from Bangladesh into India’s northeastern states where the “population dynamics can no longer be changed” carries lot of weightage and must be looked into seriously?
                                          Why some politicians are always on the look for finding some reason or the other to attack our Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on one pretext or the other? Why some politicians can’t accept that General Bipin Rawat is our Army Chief and not some Captain or Major whose views can be ignored easily? Why some politicians fail to even accept that General Bipin Rawat has vast amount of experience and he fully understands the intricacies of whatever he speaks on and as the head of the Army he has every right to speak what he wants to speak?
                                            Why some politicians fail to appreciate and accept that General Bipin Rawat has risen to the top position by virtue of his merit and not because of favour by some political party or politician? Why some politicians don’t even bother to think of the immense damage that they are doing to the fabric of our Army by repeatedly condemning our Army Chief Bipin Rawat and making a mockery of our impeccable Army in front of the whole world? Why some politicians fail to appreciate and accept that when they deride our Army Chief, it is the morale of our soldiers which gets worst affected by it? Is this is what they aim at when they keep attacking our Army Chief on one pretext or the other?
                                               Why some politicians who attack Army Chief behave themselves as proxy of Pakistan and China by going and meeting their staff again and again? Why some politicians raise serious questions on our Army Chief when he says that, “They (Pakistan) will always try and ensure that this area is taken over…playing the proxy dimension of warfare where they do not have to confront a stronger nation through conventional operations”? Why some politicians go out of the way and invite Pakistani invaders like General Musharraf and that too just 2 to 3 months after Kargil war in which we officially lost more than 600 soldiers and give him a red carpet welcome instead of arresting him and trying him for war crimes?
                                   Why some politicians feel that Gen Rawat’s statement that, “This proxy game is being well played by our western neighbor and supported also by the northern neighbour” is politically motivated? Why some politicians always think that there is politics in what ever Army Chief does? Why some politicians have already become Jyotish Guru and have started predicting that Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat will join politics after retirement and he has started working also in this direction? Do they have some secret intelligence network which is supplying them this news which does not surface anywhere else?
                                         Why is the Army Chief not entitled to view his own opinion on any political issue as long as he himself does not dabble in politics? Why politicians immediately start attaching political colour to anything what General Bipin Rawat says, as for instance when he said that, “I think the government is looking at the Northeast with correct perspective…With development will come control of the people residing in this area. I don’t think now you can change the population dynamics of this region…there is a party called AIUDF. It has grown at a faster rate than the BJP over the years…AIUDF is moving at a faster pace in the state of Assam.” Why politicians never see merit in what the Army Chief General Bipin Rawat says after a lot of introspection and deliberation?    
                              What wrong has General Bipin Rawat said when he says that, “India needed to identify problems in the northeast and address them holistically with a focus on development and on ways to integrate the region with the rest of the country”? Why can’t his suggestions be taken in a constructive manner? Why is he singled out for speaking something which he feels it is necessary for him to speak?
                                 Why some politicians want our Army Chief to be absolutely squeamish and not speak anything which he wants to speak? Why some politicians don’t admit even what in November 2016, junior Home Minister Kiren Rijju told Parliament that government estimates put the number of illegal Bangladeshi migrants staying in India at “around 20 million”? What wrong has Gen Rawat said when he said that, “We have to keep our eyes and ears open and keep a watch on this area called the northeast”?
                                     Why some politicians fail to appreciate the importance of northeastern states? Why some politicians fail to appreciate that these illegal Bangladeshis and Pakistanis who were given a separate country by partitioning India can yet again be the single biggest security threat to India and Rohingyas many of whom are in touch with Lashkar and who have been accommodated in Jammu and Kashmir also are likely to work as agents of Pakistan and Lashkar as is suspected also during the recent terror attack in which many soldiers lost their life when terrorists attacked an Army base in Sunjuwan in Jammu and even children and women were not spared? Why are politicians making a mockery of our national security inspite of repeatedly facing terror attacks sponsored directly by Pakistan?
                                      Which rule stops Army Chief General Bipin Rawat from speaking what is the chilling, unpalatable truth that, “Its (All India United Democratic Front) sudden popularity was due to a population inversion in Northeast India. When we talk of the Jana Sangh with two MPs and where they have reached, the AIUDF is moving at a much faster pace in the state of Assam”? Why politicians get angry when he speaks nothing but the truth and calls a spade a spade? What wrong has Gen Rawat said while talking of the population dynamics of the Northeast when he said that inversion has taken place and it could not be changed?  
                                       Why some politicians lash out at Gern Rawat instead of being grateful to him when he shows them the true mirror by pointing out that, “Migration from Bangladesh is due to two reasons. One is they are running out of space. Large areas get flooded during the monsoon, and they have constricted area to stay. The other issue is planned immigration, which is taking place because of our western neighbor. They will always try and ensure that this area is taken over. It is the proxy dimension of warfare”? What wrong has he said? What he has said is absolutely right and this whole nation should be grateful to him for speaking nothing but the blunt truth!
                                       Why some politicians start shivering in anger when he speaks the truth and demand ban on Army Generals joining politicians for five years? Why such politicians never demand similar ban on bureaucrats for five years as also ban on repeated extension of term to bureaucrats who favour them and also never demand similar ban on bureaucrats from becoming UPSC members, Governors, CVC etc? Why politicians forget what Benjamin Netanyahu who is Prime Minister of Israel said about bureaucracy that, “This talent has been existing in Israel for long, but we couldn’t get anywhere. Why couldn’t we get anywhere? We were limited by bureaucracy”? I will not go that far to deride bureaucracy but certainly I will also not like if repeatedly our Army Chief is denigrated by certain politicians of certain parties repeatedly!
                                          Before winding up, let me leave my esteemed readers with what advice a three-Judge Bench of Supreme Court led by CJI Dipak Misra had for those politicians who get sensitive on write-ups and run to courts to file defamation suits. It said that, “You must develop some tolerance for write-ups. Just read it and laugh it off”. CJI also said that, “In fact, filing a case may actually harm the man by attracting more publicity”. What wrong has a three-Judge Bench of Apex Court led by CJI Dipak Misra said?
                                            Will some of our politicians and some parties question this also? Why can’t they stop commenting everytime whenever Gen Rawat says something? Why do they tend to always overreact?   
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.
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Coming straight to the crux of the core issue, let me begin by first and foremost stating explicitly that the Election Commission of India has very rightly and commendably told the Supreme Court that it has proposed to the Centre to amend the law and bar people accused of an offence punishable with at least five years from contesting elections after charges were framed against them by a court. Why when criminals are barred from getting any government job are they eligible to become the makers of the law itself? Why such an open mockery of our law makers?
                                   It is because of all this that we are now seeing right before our eyes that the Chief Secretary of Delhi is being assaulted brutally by AAP MLAs and that too right in the house of the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal without any fear! We are also seeing how MPs immediately start slapping anyone at the drop of a hat! This can never be condoned or overlooked under any circumstances! We have just no option before us but to bar criminals permanently from politics for once and all!
                                            Truth be told, if any one wants to get any government job, there should not be even a single case pending and even if someone maliciously lodges FIR then that itself is sufficient to bar that candidate from acquiring any government job! When there are so strict parameters for acquiring any government job then why for becoming MPs and MLAs there are no such similar strict rules? Why no amendments have been made till now in the last 70 years in this regard?
                                          To put things in perspective, in an affidavit filed in the top court, the Election Commission of India said that it has actively taken steps to decriminalize politics and also made recommendations, but “any further steps to effectively decriminalize politics would require legislative amendments, which is beyond the scope” of the poll panel. So, without a doubt, it is the legislature that must step into the gas and do the requisite groundwork in this direction so that criminals are permanently barred from contesting polls. Why can’t the legislature do it immediately just like it acts promptly when it wants to hike its own pay?
                                                      As it turned out, in its affidavit the Election Commission of India said people against whom charges have been framed by a court for offences punishable with at least five years should be barred from contesting polls if the cases were registered against them at least six months prior to the election. The matter is listed for hearing before a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. The affidavit said that the Election Commission of India should be given the power to de-register political parties and be authorized to issue necessary orders regulating registration and deregistration of parties.
                                           Simply put, the affidavit said the poll body has been raising the issue of criminalization of politics since 1998 and had sent proposals to the Centre in this regard on July 15, 1998 which were reiterated by it in the recommended electoral reforms of July 2004 and December 2016. Yet nothing happened. The answer is quite implicit. Politicians always treat themselves as above all laws of the land!
                                        Permit me to say: This alone explains why till now even after more than 70 years of independence we see criminals entering politics and becoming MPs and MLAs without any legal hassle of any kind! Criminals are ruling the roost in politics! How can we expect them to change the law and bar criminals from contesting polls?
                                               Needless to say, the Election Commission while referring to one of the proposals said that, “The Commission had proposed that the law should be amended to provide that any person who is accused of an offence punishable by imprisonment for five years or more should be disqualified from contesting election even when trial is pending, provided charges have been framed against him by the competent court”. What wrong has Election Commission said? In fact, this should have happened long time back!
                                             Going forward, the Election Commission of India in its affidavit also said that, “The Commission reiterates that such a step would go a long way in cleansing the political establishment from the influence of criminal elements and protecting the sanctity of the legislative houses.” Again who can deny or dispute this? But what we are seeing on the ground is that a large number of MPs and MLAs have criminal background and have serious charges of crime cases pending against them in various courts!
                                             While citing its proposals, the Election Commission of India said that people with criminal background and accused of serious offences by contesting elections send very negative signals about the electoral process. A mockery is made of our whole democratic system by allowing historysheeters to become MPs and MLAs and contesting elections even from jails for having committed most heinous offences! How can any good democratic country permit this to happen?
                                           It cannot be lost on us that the affidavit was filed on a plea by lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay who sought that convicted people should be barred from forming political parties and becoming their office-bearers for the period they were disqualified under the election law. What wrong has Ashwini said? There is a lot of merit in what he has said so candidly!
                                               Let me tell you: The poll panel, while referring to the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, said that the law did not expressly confer any power on the Election Commission of India regarding deregistration of political parties. This job is of the legislature. But it has been lacklustre and has evinced no real interest in this regard which alone explains that why till now we have no law to bar criminals from contesting polls.
                                          It needs no rocket scientist to conclude that all this has only served to increase further the percentage of politicians with criminal background to enter politics. As per an analysis of the electoral college by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), of the total number of MPs and MLAs, 33 percent members have declared criminal cases against themselves in a self-sworn affidavit filed with the Election Commission of India before their most recent elections. The statement of ADR also read that, “34% of Lok Sabha MPs, 19% of Rajya Sabha MPs and 33% of MLAs (all state assemblies/UTs) analysed have declared criminal cases against themselves.”
                                      No wonder that the analysis by ADR further also brings out that 20 percent members have serious criminal cases against themselves. The popular names under this category are RJD MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, AITC MP Becharam Manna and RJD MP Mohammed Iliyas Hussain.This is certainly most concerning!
                                If we go by statistics, we would find that the general election of 2014 has seen the highest number of politicians with criminal records being elected to the Indian Parliament. As per records, every third newly elected MP in the Indian Parliament has a criminal record.  186 (about 34 percent) of the newly elected MPs have confessed in their election affidavits that they have criminal charges against them. In the 2009 Lok Sabha, the figure was 158 (about 30 percent) of the elected members of Parliament.
                                       Among the newly elected MPs, 112 have declared that they have serious criminal cases, including the ones related to murder, attempt to murder, communal disharmony, kidnapping and crimes against women lodged against them. The ADR report reveals that nine leaders in Parliament have murder cases while another 17 have attempt to murder against them. Similarly, there are two MPs who have cases related to crimes against women.
                                    It is noteworthy that the report also notes that among the elected leaders in the Parliament, there are 16 with cases related to communal disharmony registered against them. There are 10 MPs who have been charged for robbery and dacoity and seven have cases related to kidnapping. Do they really deserve to become an MP or even an MLA?
                                 How can all this be condoned? Should they not be barred from contesting polls and if they are not barred, what will happen? The percentage of criminals entering politics will steadily increase as we are seeing right now before us. Can we allow this to happen under any circumstances?

                                     On a concluding note, it is still not too late. No time should be wasted in immediately implementing what the Election Commission of India has so explicitly suggested: Bar all criminals who have serious criminal charges pending against them which are punishable with at least five years from contesting elections after charges are framed against them by a court.
                                All in all, Parliament must be honest enough to appreciate what the Election Commission has suggested and should waste no time in implementing it swiftly and sternly so that no criminal is ever able to take advantage of the loopholes that are prevailing in our legal system and thus making a complete mockery of it! Here lies the real tragedy! We never see Parliament doing its job well in time and it is criminals with serious criminal charges who are really enjoying the last laugh because of this for which those in Parliament are squarely responsible for not doing enough to address this serious malaise that is afflicting and corroding our democratic system from within!   
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,

Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.
How can this happen? But it has happened in the past also and is happening time and again in the 26 districts of West UP. Now again on 23 February 2018 the lawyers of 26 districts of West UP are on toll plazas to make them toll free.
                                             Once again the lawyers of West UP have intensified their agitation for setting up a high court bench in West UP. The demand for a high court bench in West UP is not new. It was way back in 1955 that Dr Sampoornanand had for the first time very strongly recommended for the creation of a high court bench in Meerut.
                                          This landmark recommendation by Dr Sampoornanand was not however entertained by Jawaharlal Nehru who very strongly believed that in the whole of UP there should be just one bench just about 200 to 250 km away from Allahabad at Lucknow which he created way back on July 1, 1948 and not anywhere else. All Prime Ministers afterwards right from Lal Bahadur Shastri were unanimous in feeling that UP should not have any bench anywhere else other than the one that Nehru approved in 1948. The incumbent PM Narendra Modi too feels the same way which alone explains that why inspite of his completing nearly 4 years in office, he too has ensured that a high court bench is not set up anywhere else!
                                             This is nothing! The real record was broken by former PM late Mrs Indira Gandhi. It was Indira who decided to appoint the Justice Jaswant Singh Commission in late 1970s to look into the places where high court benches should be set up.
                                            Justice Jaswant Singh Commission recommended that a high court bench be set up at Aurangabad in Maharashtra which was promptly accepted, Madurai in Tamil Nadu which was again accepted and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal which was again accepted. So far so good. But what came as a bolt from the blue was Centre’s most shocking decision to not implement what Justice Jaswant Commission recommended regarding Uttar Pradesh.
                                           Justice Jaswant Singh Commission recommended that 3 high court benches should be created for UP at Agra, Dehradun and Nainital. But it was most perplexing to note that Indira Gandhi did not allow even a single bench of high court to be created anywhere in whole of UP! Not a single Prime Minister after Indira Gandhi too could ever dare to summon the requisite courage to implement what Justice Jaswant Singh Commission recommended to create 3 benches in UP. Not just this, not even a single bench was allowed to come up in any hook and corner of UP.   
                                            To protest this worst kind of injustice, the lawyers of all the districts of West UP set up a Central Action Committee to pursue the agitation for a separate bench for a high court in West UP. It was decided to go on strike every Saturday to protest this worst kind of discrimination meted out to more than 9 crore people of West UP by denying them even a single high court bench. Since May 1981 to February 2018 this Saturday strike has been continuing relentlessly!
                                           Not just this, the lawyers of West UP even went on strike for 6 months from July to December 2001 demanding the creation of a high court bench in West UP! Apart from this, there was strike for many weeks in 2009, then again in 2010 there was one month strike, then again in 2011-12 the strike ranged for several weeks and then in 2014-15 the strike ranged from 3 to 4 months and ended only after Arun Jaitley assured to look into it! In 2017 also the strike continued for a week in October when lawyers protested against the visit of Kesarinath Tripathi to Meerut as he had earlier opposed the creation of a demand for high court bench in West UP when he was Speaker of UP State Assembly in 1995-96.
                                        The lawyers of West UP time and again march to toll plazas to set them free. This is done so that the Centre is finally constrained to set up a high court bench in West UP. The lawyers very strongly believe and rightly so that the people of more than 26 districts of West UP are compelled to unnecessarily travel to Allahabad to attend court hearings which is about 700-800 km away. The people many times are compelled to travel without reservation whole night to Allahabad to attend court hearings!
                                                      Why can’t a high court bench be set up in West UP for 26 districts for more than 9 crore people living here? Why did Atal Bihari Vajpayee demand the creation of a high court bench in West UP right inside Parliament way back in 1986? Why Satyapal Singh who is former Mumbai Police Commissioner and is now MP from Baghpat and Union Minister had earlier demanded the creation of 5 high court benches at Meerut, Agra, Varanasi, Jhansi and Gorakhpur?
                                            Why is it ignored that the population of West UP is more than any other state except Maharashtra and Bihar and here too the area of West UP with 98,000 square km is more than that of Bihar with 94,000 square km? Why is it ignored that West UP accounts for more than half of the pending cases of UP that is more than five lakh cases and UP has 10 lakh cases which implies that no state in India other than UP of which it is a part has more pending cases than West UP still it has not even a single bench of high court? Why is it ignored that Karnataka has just about 6 crore population and about less than 2 lakh cases pending cases still it has not just a high court but also 3 high court benches at Hubli, Dharwad and Gulbarga. The benches at Dharwad and Gulbarga were created for just 4 and 8 districts in 2012. But West UP with more than 9 crore population, 26 districts and more than five lakh cases pending has not even a  single bench of high court!
                                              Time and again, the lawyers of West UP go on strike demanding the creation of a high court bench in West UP but Centre never listens! Time and again, the lawyers set toll plaza free as they are doing now on February 23 still Centre does not listen. Time and again, they even go on strike as they did on February 15 and then on February 17 and then from February 19 to February 26!
                                                Not just this they even hold relay strikes as they have been doing since last few days, also take out bike rallies demanding bench and even hold Press Club conference as they will be doing on February 26 to make the media aware of the dire need of setting up a high court bench in West UP! The lawyers of West UP time and again plead that the high court and benches of 8 states and above all even Lahore High Court is nearer to West UP as compared to Allahabad still it has no bench! Valid point!
                                             It is most hurting to see that the lawyers of 26 districts of West UP instead of being in courts and fighting legal cases for their clients are on streets to ensure that toll plazas are set free! But who is responsible for it? Centre which can create a circuit bench for 6 districts of Kolhapur in Maharashtra which already has 3 benches of high court at Aurangabad, Nagpur and Panaji but not a single bench for West UP! Most hurting!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.