Dr. Rajbir Singh
Assistan Professor in Political Science & Head Dept. Of Political Science,
Ggdsd College, Palwal (Haryana)


India-Israel Relations

ABSTRACT
 India established diplomatic relations with Israel only in January 1992 even though it had recognised the Jewish State in September 1950. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, political, economic, cultural, and security relations have been flourishing considerably. Important as they are, this chapter looks at the influence of external players in Indo-Israeli relations, especially after normalisation. Some external factors contributed to the delayed normalisation while others have been facilitating a more rapid progress in the bilateral relations. Looking through the external prism, this chapter examines the influence of foreign powers in inhibiting as well as facilitating Indo-Israeli relations through competition and rivalry.
Key Words: - India, Israel, Diplomatic, Political, Economic, Cultural, Security.
Background
 There have been various reasons and justifications for the four-decades of Indian non-relations with Israel; these range from domestic considerations (Indian Muslim population influenced India to be supportive of the Palestinian cause), Cold War political calculations, or limited commonalities between the two countries. The roots of this policy can be traced to early 1920s when the shared anti-colonial worldview resulted in the Indian nationalists forging a common cause with the Arabs of Palestine. The Congress Party and its leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, vociferously advocated a pro-Arab position on Palestine, and this trend continued when Britain—the Mandate power— referred the Palestine issue to the newly-formed United Nations. In May 1947, India was elected to the 11-member United Nations Special Commission on Palestine (UNSCOP), and while a seven-member majority proposed partition of Palestine as the solution, India (supported by Iran and Yugoslavia) proposed a Federal plan for Palestine.1 Unfortunately, the Indian plan was rejected by both the contending parties: the Arabs were opposed to Jews being granted even minimal autonomy within an Arab Palestine while the Jews rejected the Indian plan because it offered them civil and religious rights when the majority plan offered them sovereignty and statehood. Hence, rejected by both the parties, the Indian plan was never discussed by the UN. When the partition plan came before the UN General Assembly on 29 November, India joined the Arab and Islamic countries, and opposed it. In May 1949, India also opposed Israel’s admission into the UN. However, after considerable hesitation and internal deliberations, India granted diplomatic recognition to Israel in September 1950. There were sufficient indications that India was prepared for a full-fledged diplomatic relationship with Israel, including a resident mission in Tel Aviv. A promise to this effect was made by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru when senior Israeli diplomat, Walter Eytan, met him in New Delhi in early 1952. Diplomatic exchange did not happen— or rather, happened more than four decades after Nehru’s promise. Scholars attribute this to senior Congress leader and Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad who dissuaded Nehru from establishing diplomatic relations with Israel on the ground that such a move would go against domestic Muslim sentiments in India, and could be used by Pakistan for anti-India propaganda in the Arab world, especially over the Kashmir issue. A formal Indian opposition to normalisation came in November 1956 in the wake of the Israel-led tripartite aggression against Egypt over the Suez crisis and, since then, the-time-is-not-ripe became the standard Indian position vis-à-vis normalisation.2 Over the years, India sought to further its interests in the Middle East by flagging its support for the Palestinian cause, and the absence of relations with Israel became integral to India’s zero-sum approach to the Arab-Israeli equation. India joined various Arab and Islamic countries in proposing or voting in favour of various resolutions against Israel in the UN, and other international forums such as the Non-aligned Movement. This reached its crescendo in November 1975 when India sponsored andvoted in favour of the UN General Assembly Resolution that equated Zionism with racism. Thus, it was clear that only a far reaching transformation of the international system could bring about a change in India’s attitude towards Israel. This came with the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union as well as the emergence of the USA as the pre-eminent global power. Yasser Arafat’s support for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein over the Kuwait crisis considerably weakened the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian factor in inter-Arab relations. Arafat’s willingness to attend the Middle East Peace Conference in Madrid in October 1991 also diluted India’s reluctance to deal with Israel, especially when there were no bilateral disputes between the two. Under such circumstances, Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao signalled India’s willingness to deal with the post-Cold War international climate by breaking with the past and, in January 1992, established full diplomatic relations with Israel. Since then, the bilateral relations have been progressing considerably, and have been a major source of international attention and envy. How have external players responded and reacted to Indo-Israeli relations since then? For the purpose of clarity, the external players can be divided by regions: Palestine, Iran and Saudi Arabia are the Middle Eastern players; the Southern Asian region comprises of Pakistan and China; and the United States and USSR/Russia are the international players. Some contributed to the absence of normalisation while others facilitated IndoIsraeli relations and, in some cases, one could notice a tacit competition. It would not be incorrect to state that the non-relations before 1992 and the progressing relations since 1992 have been influenced by external players.3
Prime Minister Modi visit to Israel
In July 2017, Narendra Modi became the first ever Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel. It was noted that Prime Minister Modi did not visit Palestine during the trip, breaking from convention. With the sole exception of Union Minister Rajnath Singh, previous trips by Indian ministers and President Mukherjee included visits to both Israel and Palestine. The Indian media described the move as the "dehyphenation" of India's relations with the two states.4
India, Israel expand cooperation from defense to science, agriculture and technology

  • India and Israel signed agreements on science, agriculture and technology as part of Narendra Modi's visit to the Middle Eastern country
  • Defense had been a key driver of Indian-Israeli cooperation
  • The countries agreed to create a bilateral technology innovation fund worth $40 million.
Defense ties have long underpinned Indian-Israeli relations, but a string of deals signed this week reflected wider cooperation that could benefit Indian companies seeking advanced technologies and could pave the way for Israeli firms to access millions of consumers. On Wednesday, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said India signed several agreements with Israel on science, agriculture and technology, as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's historic visit to the country, 25 years after both nations established diplomatic relations. The agreements included the decision to create a bilateral technology innovation fund worth $40 million for research in industrial development, and to establish a strategic partnership in water and agriculture to focus on water conservation, waste-water treatment and its reuse for agriculture and desalination, among other deals. "Israel's becoming a more important defense partner for India, a source of great technology, not just in the defense space, but in biotechnology (and) agriculture," "Street Signs" on Thursday. "A lot of the things were reflected in that joint statement."5
"India's good at large-scale things, like call centers and software development, but Israel's doing package software. India's doing back-office biotech research, but Israel actually has products that are out there in the global markets more than India does,” "So it could be Israeli companies looking for a larger production base, in which case India's ready to go." Indian companies looking to get access to higher-end technologies than what was available domestically could then make acquisitions in Israel. "It's a good complementary relationship between the two countries,". India and Israel also signed cooperation pacts between their respective space agencies in areas including atomic clocks and electric propulsion for small satellites. Defence, however, remained a key factor in the India-Israeli relationship. Israeli companies, led by government-owned aerospace giant Israel Aircraft Industries, have signed arms deals with India totaling over $2.6 billion earlier this year. "Israel was one of the main suppliers for India during the Kargil war with Pakistan. It showed its reputation as a strong, stable supplier, even in times of duress. So since then, there have been a lot of major, important deals,". According to the joint statement, future developments in defense cooperation between the countries should focus on joint development of defense products that include transfer of technology from Israel, with an emphasis on Modi's signature 'Make in India' initiative. India was one of the largest defense spenders in Asia. Data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute showed that in 2016, 2.5 percent of India's gross domestic product (GDP) went to military expenditure. By comparison, China spent about 1.9 percent of its GDP on its military in the same period. Israel has, over the years, become more comfortable equipping India with weapon systems that may be employed against its neighbor Pakistan — more so than the United States, which he said was looking to "equip India more for maritime domain activity." Sources of friction between India and Pakistan usually centre around terrorism and the contested region of Kashmir. "Support from Western Europe, the U.S. is not as strong as it used to be. So showing the strong relationship with an important emerging Asian power is also quite symbolic,”
Military and Strategic Ties
New Delhi found in the Defense industry of Israel a useful source of weapons, one that could supply it with advanced military technology. Thus was established the basis of a burgeoning arms trade, which reached almost $600 million in 2016, making Israel the second-largest source of defense equipment for India, after Russia. India and Israel have increased co-operation in military and intelligence ventures since the establishment of diplomatic relations. The rise of Islamic extremist terrorism in both nations has generated a strong strategic alliance between the two. In 2008, India launched a military satellite TecSAR for Israel through its Indian Space Research Organisation.
·         In September 2015, the Indian government approved the air force's request to purchase 10 Heron TP drones from Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI). In 2015, a delegation from Israel's Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs visited India, led by former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold. Shared strategic interests were discussed, including combatting radical Islam, the handling of territorial disputes, and the security situation in the Middle East and South Asia.
·         In October 2015, The Pioneer reported that India and Israel were planning to hold their first joint military exercise. The date and location were not announced.
·          In September 2016, the Indian government approved the purchase of two more Phalcon AWACS.
·         In 2017, the countries signed a military agreement worth USD 2 billion.6
Bilateral trade
Bilateral trade between India and Israel grew from $200 million in 1992 to $4.52 billion in 2014.As of 2014, India is Israel's tenth-largest trade partner and import source, and seventh-largest export source. India's major exports to Israel include precious stones and metals, organic chemicals, electronic equipment, plastics, vehicles, machinery, engines, pumps, clothing and textiles, and medical and technical equipment. Israel's imports from India amounted to $2.3 billion or 3.2% of its overall imports in 2014.7 Israel's major exports to India include precious stones and metals, electronic equipment, fertilisers, machines, engines, pumps, medical and technical equipment, organic and inorganic chemicals, salt, sulphur, stone, cement, and plastics. Israeli exports to India amounted to $2.2 billion or 3.2% of its overall exports in 2014.In 2007, Israel proposed starting negotiations on a free trade agreement with India, and in 2010, then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accepted that proposal. The agreement is set to focus on many key economic sectors, including information technology, biotechnology, water management, pharmaceuticals, and agriculture. In 2013, then Israeli Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett projected a doubling of trade from $5 to $10 billion between the two countries, if a free trade agreement was successfully negotiated. As of 2015, negotiations on a free trade agreement continue, with both countries considering negotiating a more narrow free trade agreement on goods, followed by separate agreements on trade in investment and services.8
IndiaIsrael relations and USA factor
 Historically, the USA has been Israel’s political and diplomatic benefactor. It began with active American support in the UN for the partition plan, and President Harry S. Truman’s recognition within minutes after the Declaration of Independence. In the initial years, the American support was less pronounced and given in a gingerly manner. In the wake of the Suez crisis of 1956, pressures by President Dwight Eisenhower compelled Israel to unconditionally withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. It was only after the June war of 1967 and the spectacular military success that the USA began seeing Israel as an asset in the Middle East. The benign American attitude towards Israel’s nuclear programme was accompanied by the USA coming to its rescue during the early stages of the October war of 1973 through massive military supplies. Since then, the USA has been providing political and diplomatic support, military supplies and technologies, and strategic commitments towards ensuring Israel’s qualitative edge over its adversaries. The USA has been active in various peace initiatives such as the Camp David Accords, Madrid Conference, Oslo Process and the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty.  In line with this approach, the USA prodded India for a long time to normalise relations with Israel; this began as early as in the 1950s. The USA was one of the factors leading to India’s recognition of Israel in 1950. It was no accident that the normalisation of relations were announced on the eve of Prime Minister Rao’s departure for New York to attend the summit meeting of the UN Security Council, also attended by President George H. W. Bush. The US role has been periodically flagged to both explain and criticize Indo-Israeli relations since 1992. For example, speaking before a dinner organised by the American Jewish Congress on 9 September 2003, India’s National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra earmarked that ‘the three countries have to jointly face the same ugly face of modern-day terrorism’. 9This pronouncement at times has been erroneously interpreted as a clarion call for an India-Israel-US alliance. A more logical explanation can be that India wishes to avoid the kind of problems China faced in its post1992 military relations with Israel. By keeping the US informed and onboard, India wants to ensure that the USA does not exercise its veto over Indo-Israeli military-security relations. Such an insurance policy is essential in the light of the politico-strategic leverage that the USA wields over Israel: besides being its principal arms supplier, the USA has provided technology or funded Israeli research and development. The American ability to intervene and block the Indo-Israeli military partnership is substantial, and by keeping the USA on board, India wishes to prevent an American veto. This strategy has been effective and since 1992—there are no major American impediments aimed at slowing or blocking emerging military ties between India and Israel.10
Conclusion
Since the establishment of relations with Israel, India has been under different kinds of pressures from various countries. Some are prepared to endorse and facilitate the furthering of Indo-Israeli bilateral relations; others have reluctantly accepted India’s political will, and the desire to follow and pursue an independent course in the furtherance of its interests. A positive attitude of the USA is necessary for the furtherance of IndoIsraeli military ties. Though the geopolitical situations in the Middle East have weakened its importance, the historic legacy and the periodic upsurge of violence means that the Palestine factor would continue to be relevant in India’s ability to pursue closer ties with Israel.
Conclusion
Since the establishment of relations with Israel, India has been under different kinds of pressures from various countries. Some are prepared to endorse and facilitate the furthering of Indo-Israeli bilateral relations; others have reluctantly accepted India’s political will, and the desire to follow and pursue an independent course in the furtherance of its interests. A positive attitude of the USA is necessary for the furtherance of IndoIsraeli military ties. Though the geopolitical situations in the Middle East have weakened its importance, the historic legacy and the periodic upsurge of violence means that the Palestine factor would continue to be relevant in India’s ability to pursue closer ties with Israel.
References
1.      Bhasin, Avatar Singh, India’s Foreign Relations-2008, New Delhi: Ministry of External Affairs, Public Diplomacy Division, 2008.
2.      Ganguly, Sumit (ed.), India’s Foreign Policy: Retrospect and Prospect, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2009.
3.      Kumaraswamy, P.R., India’s Israel Policy, New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.
4.      "Why Modi's India aligns more closely with Israel than with Palestinians"Al Jazeera. 3 August 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
5.      Pant, Harsh V. (December 2004). "India-Israel Partnership: Convergence and Constraints" (PDF). Middle East Review of International Affairs. Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs. 8 (4): 60–73. Retrieved 2 November 2015
6.      Harel, Amos (February 18, 2015). "Israel-India strategic ties are no longer a secret"Haaretz. Retr Basu, Nayanima (2015-02-13).
7.       "India, Israel FTA not likely to be signed soon"Business Standard India. Retrieved 2017-07-05.ieved May 4, 2015.
8.      "India-Israel Economic and Commercial Relations"Embassy of India- Tel Aviv, Israel. February 2014. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
9.      Pandit, Rajat (7 April 2017). "India inks defence deals worth over $2 billion with Israel ahead of PM Narendra Modi's visit"The Times of India.
10.  "India to hold wide-ranging strategic talks with US, Israel"The Times of India. January 19, 2010. Retrieved April 29, 2015

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It has to be stated with utmost dismay and dejection that Allahabad High Court which is one of the oldest high court in India which completed its 150 years in 2016 and is one of the biggest court in not just India but in whole of Asia has just one high court bench which is the least in India! What is even more depressing to note is that this single bench of high court is very close to Allahabad where the high court itself is located just about 200 km away at Lucknow! What is most depressing to note is that even though this single bench was created by our first PM Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru way back in 1948 on July 1, just no attempt has been made by any PM even 70 years later in 2018 to create a high court bench anywhere else in any other part of UP!
                                      What makes matters even more worse is that the people of hilly areas of UP which now form a separate state called Uttarakhand were compelled to travel more than thousand kilometers all the way to Allahabad to attend court hearings and hire lawyers and spend money on other expenses like staying etc! From 1947 till 2000 they had to suffer interminably because Centre was just not bothered about them as their population was just about 88 lakh till 2000! As if still this was not enough, Centre blatantly and most brazenly decided to smirk at the landmark recommendations made by Justice Jaswant Singh who was the former Supreme Court Judge and former Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court who headed the Justice Jaswant Singh Commission appointed by none other than Centre itself way back in late 1970s to create 2 high court benches for the hilly areas at Dehradun and Nainital and one bench for West UP at Agra! It is most dismaying that even the intellectual class, the eminent jurists of India and eminent lawyers of Supreme Court too remained by and large quite on this and there was hardly any public discussion on this!
                                         To protest this most step motherly treatment meted out to the hilly areas of UP who now form a separate state called Uttarakhad and West UP, the lawyers of nearly 40 districts decided to go on strike every Saturday since May 1981 and it is continuing till now in West UP as it even now forms part of UP in May 2018 even though in hilly areas it ceased after 2000 as it was created into a separate state! Centre can give high court if people wage agitation for a separate state but if people want to stay in UP only as we see till now in West UP, Centre strongly feels that the more than 9 crore people of West UP should tolerate everything quietly and keep going to Allahabad to attend court hearings many times even without reservations and bear all inconveniences as it is only Eastern UP which deserves both High Court at Allahabad and a single bench at Lucknow! Is this fair on part of Centre?    
                                       The larger point that I want to make here is this: Why is it that Allahabad High Court tops among all states when it comes to the number of pending cases which is more than 10 lakhs whereas most of other states have not more than one lakh cases and still Centre is busy creating more and more high court benches for them! Assam till a few years ago had 7 high court benches but after Manipur, Meghalaya andTripura were given separate high courts, it now stands reduced to 4! But Allahabad High Court has just one! Is this fair?
                                         As if this was not enough, Centre decided to openly mock at Allahabad High Court by not creating even one more bench for it even though Justice Jaswant Singh Commission had recommended 3 benches for UP! But the worst which was yet to come was when Centre most shamelessly decided to create a high court bench for Maharashtra at Aurangabad as recommended which already had benches at Nagpur and Panaji, at Madurai in Tamil Nadu and at Jalpaiguri in West Bengal! This under no circumstances can be ever justified!
                                             Not just this, Centre has always ensured that this high court has maximum vacancies of Judges which is highest in country with more than half of seats which stands at 160 keep lying vacant! Is this fair? Is Centre not aware that Allahabad High Court needs “special attention” and not “special neglect”?
                                         Is Centre not aware that Justice Jaswant Singh Commission had categorically pointed out that West UP owes for about 57% of the total pending cases which is more than half of the total pending cases in UP still why its landmark recommendation to create a bench here to take care of nearly 40 districts at Agra with circuit benches at Nainital and Dehradun overlooked? Why Centre overlooked that the high court itself was initially at Agra from 1866 to 1869 before being shifted to Allahabad? Why did it not create a bench in Agra and cited baseless pretext which had just no legal justification whatsoever?
                          Why when Sampoornanand recommended a high court bench to be created at Meerut in 1955 after more than 100 elected representatives met him and convinced him of the dire need of the same did Nehru refuse? Why when a bench could be created at Lucknow in 1948 could a bench not be created at Meerut which is more than 700 km away in 1955? Why Centre said that the recommendation made by Law Commission in its fourth report in 1955 recommended against creating more benches and so West UP could not be given a bench conveniently overlooked everything when it came to other states and kept on creating benches there and also overlooked that the Law Commission in its 230threport recommended creation of more benches yet West UP and other parts of UP like Bundelkhand were kicked by not creating more benches for Allahabad high court?
                                      Why Centre felt very excited to create 2 more high court benches for Karnataka which already had a bench at Hubli for just 4 and 8 districts at Gulbarga and Dharwad respectively but for 26 districts of West UP not a single bench was approved even though the lawyers here keep going on strike as they did thrice like once in 2001 for 6 months from July to December and for 3 to 4 months as they did in 2014-15 and for one month as they did in 2010 and for many weeks as they keep doing every year apart from the strikes on Saturdays and many times even on Wednesdays? Why Centre disregarded the most commendable recommendation made by one of the most eminent jurist of India – Soli J Sorabjee who as Attorney General in 2001had categorically recommended 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”? 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 approves one more bench for Mumbai high court at Kolhapur for just 6 districts which already had 3 benches at Panaji, Aurangabad and Nagpur just recently in 2018 itself but cites 100 reasons for not creating a single more bench for Allahabad High Court in any hook and corner of UP leave alone West UP? Why Yogi Adityanath as MP raised the demand for a high court bench in Gorakhpur which he has represented since last more than two decades in 1998 but has done nothing to create a bench here even after being in power for more than a year in UP even though he has ensured creation of an AIIMS there which is commendable? Why Centre from 1947 till 2018 has taken the stand that, “Ask anything for UP but not a high court bench as only Lucknow deserves it”? Nothing can be further from the truth!
                                        If Lucknow is capital then so are Bhopal which is capital of Madhya Pradesh, Dehradun which is capital of Uttarakhand, Bhubaneshwar which is capital of Odisha and Thiruvanathapuram which is capital of Kerala yet they have neither high court nor bench! Also, Lucknow’s area jurisdiction is just 62,00 square km and that of West UP is 98,933 square km! The number of districts which come under the jurisdiction of Lucknow bench is just 12 and that of West UP is 26! The population of districts under Lucknow jurisdiction stands nowhere as compared to West UP whose population at more than 9 crore is more than any other state except UP of which it is itself a part, Maharashtra and Bihar and here too areawise West UP has 98,933 square km and that of Bihar is just 94,000 square km!   
                                          It has been more than one year since Yogi Adityanath came to power and 4 years since NDA came to power in Centre with firm assurance by none other than the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh that a high court bench would be created in West UP if it came to power in Centre and State of UP but till now even after coming to power in both Centre and UP we don’t see BJP setting up a Bench anywhere not just in West UP but anywhere in UP! This is what is most hurting! Why is West UP being denied unfairly its due?
                                   Why catchy slogans like “speedy justice”, “justice at doorsteps” and “cheap justice” not implemented for West UP and other remote areas of UP by creating more benches here? Why Mayawati wanted high court itself for West UP by recommending to Centre that it be made a separate state way back in 1995 but Centre is not ready to concede even a bench for West UP?  Why BJP ruling now at Centre and in UP seems determined to not allow just like Congress the creation of even a single high court bench in UP other than the one that already exists at Lucknow knowing fully well that UP has maximum population more than 22 crore as CM Yogi keeps proudly declaring every now and then, maximum pending cases in High Courts more than 10 lakhs, maximum pending cases in lower courts more than 65 lakhs, maximum PM, maximum MPs, maximum MLAs both in Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad, maximum Mayors, maximum districts, maximum villages more than one lakh, maximum cities, maximum crime and here too West UP alone owes for more than 52% of pending cases,  maximum lawlessness due to which even UN secretary General Ban ki moon had slammed UP as the “rape and crime capital of India”, maximum riots as we saw in Muzaffarnagar, Saharanpur, Bareilly, Agra, Meerut all in West UP, maximum Judges, maximum courts and what not still has just one High Court Bench created by our first PM Jawaharlal Nehru way back in 1948 at Lucknow and not anywhere else even 70 years later? Most hurting!
                             This despite the fact that former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had thundered in Parliament way back in 1986 as Opposition Leader demanding the creation of a High Court Bench in West UP and Yogi Adityanath who is now UP CM also himself thundered while demanding for a High Court Bench at Gorakhpur way back in 1998 right inside Parliament but 20 years later we don’t see any High Court Bench anywhere being created other than the one which Nehru created 70 years ago in 1948 at Lucknow! One can understand that Vajpayee didn’t enjoy majority but Modi has it but we see no action forthcoming on this so far even though he is taking other steps for UP like pompously inaugurating the 14 lane highway connecting Delhi with Meerut and other districts of West UP which will reduce the time limit from Meerut to Delhi from 2 hours to just 45 minutes which is commendable but what about high court bench in West UP which is affecting the litigants of 26 districts most adversely! When will action be taken on this score?
                                   It is not for nothing that Union Minister Satyapal Singh demanded in Parliament the creation of 5 high court benches at Meerut, Agra, Jhansi, Gorakhpur and Varanasi but the real tragedy is that his own PM is not listening to him and not creating even one more bench anywhere else in UP other than the one which already exists at Lucknow! Similarly many other BJP MPs like former Union Minister Sanjeev Baliyan, Union Minister Gen VK Singh, Mahesh Sharma and other MPs like Rajinder Agarwal keep demanding benches but to no avail!
                          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 J&K directly by bringing it up in Parliament. Centre does not need any recommendation from State Government or the Chief Justice as has been very wrongly propagated for many decades! 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 stupid and crazy determination to not allow a single more bench in all these 3 states! Why eminent jurists and eminent lawyers of Apex Court keep quiet on this barring exceptions like Soli J Sorabjee?
                                          Bihar is famous as another most lawless state yet Centre has not created even a single high court bench here ever since Ranchi bench separated after Jharkhand became a state in 2000 and it became a high court and same is the case with UP and Jammu and Kashmir! It is incomprehensible why Centre can approve 3 or 4 or 5 benches for peaceful states like Maharashtra, Karnataka among others but not more than one for UP which has maximum pending cases which is more than 10 states put together! Allahabad High Court must be given its due honour and it must have maximum high court benches and not minimum!
                                          Disband all high court benches in India if Allahabad High Court cannot be given more benches, West UP cannot be given a bench nor can Bundelkhand or Gorakhpur (which is CM Yogi’s constituency and where BJP just recently lost) for people living so far away who face maximum sufferings because of this but which no PM has ever dared to address for reasons never disclosed! This all-important issue directly affecting billions of litigants coming from all sections of society is lying largely unattended and untreated since many decades!         
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.   
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At the outset, let me begin by voicing my seething anger at how brazenly BJP after always repeatedly assuring the lawyers of West UP that they will make sure that a high court bench is created soon here as soon as it comes to power has reneged on its tall promises and has done virtually nothing on this score till now! BJP came to power in Centre in 2014 and in UP in 2017. So now BJP has no excuses to make for not creating a high court bench in West UP! 

It will not be a tall claim if I say that the lawyers of West UP worked overtime to ensure that BJP won a landslide victory in West UP at least and what did it get in return? BJP decided to create a high court bench at Kolhapur in Maharashtra for just 6 districts few months back which culminated in lawyers of West UP going on strike in protest against this raw discrimination that for 26 districts of West UP not a single bench of high court is being approved but for Maharashtra which already has 3 benches at Nagpur, Aurangabad and Panaji one more bench is approved for just 6 districts! Why such a shabby step motherly treatment for West UP in particular? 

To register its strong protest against this shabby and raw treatment, the lawyers of West UP did no work on May 23 and decided to mobilize against UP CM Yogi Adityanath’s visit to Kairana in West UP. On May 24, the lawyers of West UP will not just be on strike but all lawyers would register their strong protest against West UP being denied a high court bench even after making tall promises during election time! But BJP appears unfazed and is determined that the unique record set by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru of creating a single high court bench on July 1, 1948 more than seventy years ago at Lucknow which is just about 200 km away from Allahabad where main high court is located should not be broken under any circumstances! This alone explains why more than 4 years have passed since BJP came to power in Centre but it has just smirked at West UP and done nothing to address the age old demand of lawyers of West UP of setting up a high court bench here in any of the 26 districts!

PM Narendra Modi keeps criticizing Jawaharlal Nehru every now and then but he too is determined that some unique records set up by him like imposing monogamy only on Hindus, treating Jammu and Kashmir as different from India by giving them separate flag, separate Constitution, separate laws etc over which even former CJI JS Khehar had expressed his unhappiness should not be disturbed at all! Above all, PM Modi feels that Nehru’s great record to have just one high court bench at Lucknow alone should never be disturbed and UP should have no more benches even though it is UP which is notorious as “rape and crime capital of India” and tops among all states in having maximum pending cases which is more than 10 states put together!

Here too West UP accounts for more than 57% of pending cases as was recorded by Justice Jaswant Singh Commission who recommended 3 high court benches for UP at Nainital, Dehradun and Agra but Centre then led by former PM late Mrs Indira Gandhi who had set up Justice Jaswant Singh Commission to look into where all high court benches are needed decided to not set up even a single bench in UP even though on its recommendations benches were approved at Aurangabad in Maharashtra, Madurai in Tamil Nadu and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal! PM Narendra Modi too is following Mrs Indira Gandhi’s footsteps and not approving a single high court bench here not just in West UP but in any part of UP even though Union Ministers in his Cabinet like Dr Satyapal Singh, Gen VK Singh, Mahesh Sharma among others keep demanding bench for West UP in Parliament itself! 

It is India’s misfortune that UP which has the maximum population more than 22 crore as Yogi Adityanath who is UP CM and PM Narendra Damodardas Modi keeps proudly declaring time and again, has maximum villages more than one lakh whereas in other states the number of villages don’t exceed 5000 or 6000 at the most, has maximum pending cases about 10 lakh cases as per official figures whereas other states like Karnataka which has 3 high court benches, Maharashtra which has 4 high court benches, Assam which has 4 high court benches, etc even though they have less than 1 lakh pending cases, UP has maximum districts 75 whereas other states have just about 25 or 30 on an average, UP has maximum MPs, maximum MLAs both in Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad, maximum Mayors, maximum towns, maximum pending cases in lower courts more than 60,000 lakh pending cases whereas other states have comparatively much lesser figures, UP has given maximum PM to India including the incumbent Narendra Modi who is MP from Varanasi, maximum poverty, maximum crime, maximum riots, maximum killings, maximum rape, assault and other crimes against women, etc and is one of the biggest states of India yet has just one high court bench created way back in 1948 on July 1 at Lucknow which is just about 200 km away from Allahabad where the high court itself is located! Seventy years have lapsed but till now in April 2018 no bench has been created in any other part of UP even though the former UN Secretary General Ban ki moon had slammed UP as the “rape and crime capital of India”!

Lamentably, even small states like Sikkim, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, etc with just about 6 lakh population, 29 lakh , 36 lakh, 27 lakh have high courts but West UP with more than 9 crore population has not even a single bench of high court! Even Andaman and Nicobar islands with just 3 lakh population has bench but not West UP! West UP accounts for more than half of pending cases of total pending cases of UP about 17 lakh cases as reported in Hindi newspaper of Hindustan dated 17 April 2018 which can be independently verified and which owes for maximum riots, killings, rapes, gang rapes etc still it has not a single bench! Who is the jurist in India or in any other part of world who will still justify that West UP should have no bench nor Bundelkhand but only Lucknow so close to Allahabad just 200 km away alone should have bench as we see since 1948! This is atrocious! People of West UP are compelled to travel more than 700-800 km all the way to Allahabad as there is no high court bench here! On what ground can this be justified?

Now coming to West UP which has more than 9 crore population which is more than the population of all states except Bihar and Maharashtra and UP of which it is itself a part and here too the area of West UP with 98,000 square kilometers is more than that of Bihar with 94,000 square kilometers still it has no high court bench! The people are compelled to travel more than 700 to 800 kilometers all the way to Allahabad as there is no high court bench in any of the 26 districts of West UP! In other words, the litigants of West UP have to travel whole night without reservation many times when they can’t get reservation to attend court hearings at Allahabad and bear all sorts of inconveniences in finding a suitable room to stay for few days!

If a high court bench was there in any of the 26 districts of West UP they would have been saved from all these inconveniences and their precious money would also have been saved from being wasted! Those lawyers of Allahabad who argue that now there is facility of plane when anyone can travel anywhere and reach in no time must understand that the majority of litigants are not so rich that they can spend so much of money in travelling only and then spend much more in hiring good lawyers etc! It is for their benefit that the lawyers of West UP are agitating for a high court bench in West UP!

What was the need for a high court bench in Lucknow which is so near to Allahabad? If Lucknow is capital then so is Bhopal which is capital of Madhya Pradesh, Bhubaneshwar which is capital of Odisha, Thiruvananthapuram which is capital of Kerala, Dehradun which is capital of Uttarakhand etc but all these places have neither high court nor bench! Lawyers of West UP have never objected to a bench in Lucknow but have only legitimately demanded that when a bench can exist so close to Allahabad then why can’t it exist so far away in any of the 26 districts of West UP?

This is the main reason why the lawyers of West UP have been regularly striking every Saturday since May 1981. Lamentably now even in May 2018 strikes are still continuing! Lawyers of West UP went on 6 months strike from July to December in 2001, went on strike for 3 to 4 months in 2014-15, on one month strike in 2010 apart from many other strikes in many other years! Now again on 28 April there was a collective fast in Meerut attended by even BJP leaders from West UP demanding the creation of a high court bench here still BJP at Centre is determined not to approve a single bench more for UP!

On 23 May no work by lawyers of West UP and on May 24 again strike and lawyers of West UP would oppose BJP leader and UP CM Yogi Adityanath for not creating a bench in West UP! Why when Dr Sampoornanand who was UP CM in 1955 had recommended a high court bench in Meerut was it refused by Centre? Why many other UP CMs also recommended for the same including Mayawati who even recommended statehood for West UP but still not even a bench was approved?

Why in 2018 for UP the recommendation made by Law Commission of India in its 4th report in 1955 being adhered to which opposed that high courts should sit at benches in different parts of the states even though in other states like Karnataka 2 more benches were created at Dharwad and Gulbarga for just 4 and 8 districts apart from the one already at Hubli and in Maharashtra also which already had benches at Nagpur, Aurangabad, Panaji and now at Kolhapur for just 6 districts but for 26 districts of West UP just no bench approved even though the Law Commission of India in its 230th report recommended creation of more high court benches but UP along with other big states like Rajasthan, Odisha and Bihar were left in the cold? Most shocking!

It is most shocking to learn that the high court and benches of 8 states in India are closer to West UP as compared to Allahabad. As for instance Delhi High Court is just 70 km from Meerut in West UP, Gwalior bench in MP is just about 368 km, Chandigarh high court is just 239 km, Shimla high court is just 336 km, Jaipur bench of Rajasthan high court is just 333 km, Nainital high court is just 249 km and worst of all even Lahore high court in Pakistan is just 500 km whereas Allahabad is about 705 km from Meerut even though the distance of other districts like Saharanpur to Allahabad is much more!

None other than former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had himself as Opposition leader way back on 21 July in 1986 had raised the demand for a high court bench in West UP along with MP Ashwani Kumar in Rajya Sabha! Legal giants like Ram Jethmalani, Soli J Sorabjee, Kapil Sibal etc have time and again reiterated the dire need for a bench in West UP! Soli J Sorabjee had clearly stated while he was Attorney General in 2001 that, “Centre can create a high court bench in West UP without any recommendation from the State Government or Chief Justice.” Former Union Minister RPN Singh had pointed out that Kapil Sibal even recommended high court bench in Meerut while he was Law Minister but the then UP CM Akhilesh Yadav didn’t pay heed!

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 J&K directly by bringing it up in Parliament. Centre does not need any recommendation from State Government or the Chief Justice as has been very wrongly propagated for many decades! What a national disgrace that these very 3 states – Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Bihar keep on coming the national headlines for all the wrong reasons as crime incidents keep multiplying very rapidly and what is worst is Centre’s stupid and crazy determination to not allow a single more bench in all these 3 states! Bihar is famous as a lawless state yet Centre has not created even a single high court bench here ever since Ranchi bench separated after Jharkhand became a state in 2000 and it became a high court and same is the case with UP and Jammu and Kashmir!

No doubt, UP is the worst of all states! Just recently a 16 year old girl in Kanpur is burnt alive for just drawing water from hand pump because criminals know that UP is overburdened with so many pending cases and Centre is doing just nothing to address it so they can easily get away with impunity as it will take many decades for case to be decided even in lower courts! Most hurting!

As if this is not enough, an 18 year old girl is burnt alive in Unnao from where a BJP MLA which is in power in UP has been arrested on gang rape charges just recently whose father was instead arrested and beaten in police station where he later succumbed to his injuries! Rapes and gangrapes and burning of girls and women are becoming the norm in UP which is so shocking but still not one bench is being created any where in UP! Just recently even a blind girl was not spared in Ghaziabad and 10 days after her father died she was raped and landlord asked her to approach police but before that evict house!

The list of such hapless girls and women undergoing unending woes and interminable sufferings is endless yet we see Centre has not allowed a single bench not just in West UP but any where in any part of UP even though it has approved one more bench at Kolhapur in Maharashtra which already had 3 benches! None other than UP Chief Justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale while condemning the law and order situation in UP where he says that law and order situation in the state has been destroyed while proudly hailing his home state Maharashtra where he says “law and order situation in Maharashtra is so good that women can go out alone anywhere without any fear even in night hours” yet see the unpalatable irony that Maharashtra now has 4 benches with one more being approved at Kolhapur for just 6 districts but UP has just one very near to Allahabad and not anywhere else like in Bundelkhand region in Jhansi or in Gorakhpur or in Meerut or in Agra or at any other place!

All said and done, Allahabad High Court is one of oldest High Courts in not just India but also in Asia which completed 150 years in 2016 and also one of the biggest yet we see that leave alone benches even the number of Judges strength has not been increased and even most of the sanctioned posts which is more than half keeps lying vacant! Even the lawyers of Calcutta high court have been on strike for more than 2 months as many Judges post are lying vacant and so were lawyers of Odisha high court for the same reason! Why are more Judges not being appointed in time?

Where is our nation heading if victims don’t get justice in time because of Judges not being appointed, benches not being created in big and lawless states like UP, Bihar and J&K even though Centre has full power to create any number of benches in these 3 states anytime when it wants? Lawlessness will obviously increase further with no fear among criminals of ever being brought to book! Which self-respecting Indian will feel happy to see all this?

Why is Centre now in power in all these 3 states doing nothing to address people’s especially women’s and most of all victim girls endless woes by at least setting up more high court benches so that they are not compelled to travel so far away and once again fall prey to some other criminal! Centre is solely responsible for it and still is doing absolutely nothing to address it by taking laudable steps like setting up more high court benches, appointing more Judges, appointing more court staff and spending more on improving the infrastructure of court which is abysmal because of very miserly amount being spent on it since 1947 till 2018!

If a high court bench cannot be set up in West UP which is most lawless as we see till now and from where litigants are compelled to travel so far at Allahabad about 700 km away on an average then certainly all the high court benches in India must be disbanded and what some Allahabad High Court lawyers keep demanding that, “One state, one high court” must be strictly implemented uniformly in all states! Now it is for Centre to decide for itself the right course of action! It cannot continue any longer with this status quo policy which has already bleeded India since many decades!

This status quo policy of last 70 years followed till now for UP will destroy not just UP which is the heart of India but the whole of India as when heart fails the whole body goes for a toss! Will Centre question this also? Why is BJP adamant that what Nehru did by creating just one bench at Lucknow in 1948 should not be changed even 70 years later in 2018? Still how shamelessly can BJP call itself as “a party with a difference”?

It must see the clear writing on the wall and create more benches now especially in West UP! No more delay now in doing this! 230th report of Law Commission favoured creation of more benches not just for Karnataka or Maharashtra but for other big lawless states also like UP which has maximum pending cases and Bihar! But BJP is determined like Congress earlier to not allow even a single more bench in UP for reasons which are undisclosed till now! Has BJP gone crazy? 

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 state at the very outset that I am not against Muslims in any manner. My best friend Sageer Khan as also many other friends like Rais Khan, Parvez Alam, Naeem Raja, Shameem Agha and many others are all Muslims. If Centre does anything to appease them I will be more than happy to welcome it. But appeasement of terrorists trained and armed in Pakistan to kill innocents in India, traitors who stay in India yet pledge their loyalty to Pakistan without actually shifting there and the rogue state like Pakistan who keeps exploiting the stupid move of unilateral ceasefire declared by India to launch more attacks on Indian soil can never be justified under any circumstances. No law can justify it on any ground whatsoever.   
                                I fully and firmly back the growing demand to set up a Special Investigation Team by Supreme Court to look into why Centre always keeps kowtowing in front of Pakistan? Why Pakistani Army mercilessly keeps attacking India with most dangerous weapons whole night and whole day many times due to which many innocents are killed just like recently even small children were killed and still Centre continues with the unilaterally declared foolish ceasefire called “Ramzan ka Ceasefire” again and again for terrorists, traitors and Pakistan giving them extra time to regroup and re-attack with renewed vigour enthusiasm refusing to learn nothing from  what had happened earlier? Are politicians of India being directly funded by Pakistan?
                                  If not, then why they keep kowtowing in front of terrorists, traitors and Pakistan? Why no step is taken to declare Pakistan a “terror sponsor country”? Why an IFS officer Eenam Gambhir who is the first Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN in a UN session address Pakistan as “Aatankistan” which makes our politician happy as can be seen from smile on their face but do just nothing to actually declare Pakistan a “terror sponsor country?
                                           Why India had unilaterally declared Most Favoured Nation to Pakistan in 1996 when the insurgency problem started in Kashmir from 1989 onwards? Why is it continuing till now in 2018? Why is India not revoking it till now? Is all this happening at the behest of some foreign power? Why can’t an independent probe be ordered into it? Why Opposition too who foolishly tries to impeach Chief Justice of India Dipak Mishra not say a word on this?
                                         Why politicians of India ruling in Centre make it a policy to insult our soldiers by inviting Pakistani invaders like former Army Chief Gen Pervez Musharraf who masterminded Kargil war in which more than 600 soldiers died as per official figures even though unofficially the figure is quite high and he himself acknowledged that he entered about 15-16 km inside Indian territory to boost the morale of his soldiers to slaughter Indian soldiers most mercilessly just a night before war started and had threatened to nuke India if Indian soldiers dared to enter Pakistani territory and presented dreaded Al Qaeda terror leader Iliyas Kashmiri with Rs 1 lakh on being presented by him with a severed head of an Indian soldier still he was given a red carpet grand welcome like a royal emperor and that too just 2 to 3 months after Kargil war which had left our whole nation in grief? Why did India not attack Pakistan mercilessly as was demanded by the then Army Chief even at the time of Operation Parakaram? Why did India not break all relations with Pakistan? Why no lessons were learnt even after attack on our Parliament by terrorists trained and funded and armed directly from Pakistani Army and ISI?
                         Why BJP says it will not indulge in appeasement of Muslims or of any other religion but indulges in worst  kind of appeasement of terrorists trained and armed to the teeth by Pakistan’s Army and ISI, traitors who stone pelt not just soldiers but even visitors and children and Pakistan who uses ceasefire opportunity to attack our soldiers, farmers and their families on the borders still the ceasefire is continued which forbids our soldier to launch any strong counter step and become a sacrificial lamb at the hands of the soldiers of Pakistan, traitors and terrorists? Why no “Diwali ka Ceasefire” or “Holy ka Ceasefire” or “Basant Panchmi ka Ceasefire” or some other ceasefire? Why BJP is not ready to compromise with Indian Muslims on Ayodhya knowing it fully well that Lord Ram never believed in violence in his name and he had even sacrificed his wife to make sure that no one in his kingdom was unhappy with him?   
                                  Why central leadership is ever ready to compromise always with terrorists, traitors and Pakistan? Why don’t we snap all our ties with them as demanded by many leaders like Maulana Mehmood Madani, Rajeev Chandrashekhar and others? Why India keeps giving Pakistan so much of water when they are continuously attacking us?
                                   Why Centre proudly gives green signal to J&K government headed by Mehbooba to withdraw cases against about 10,000 stone pelters? Why those same stone pelters again attack those in uniform and are again pardoned? What message Centre sends?
                                      Why no ceasefire for rapists, dacoits and other criminals? Why only for terrorists, traitors and Pakistan? Why during 1971 war even after winning India surrendered more than 93,000 prisoners of war but Pakistan refused to surrender those many soldiers about 100 in number who since last 47 years are rotting in Pakistan with no one caring for them?
                                       Does Centre identify terrorists with Ramzan? If not then why this ceasefire in name of Ramzan? Why is Ramzan being defamed?
                                  Why are we not behaving like a secular and democratic country who attaches no preference to any particular religion? Why when Pakistan, traitors and terrorists misuse time and again this ceasefire to kill innocent Indians still why Centre plays second fiddle to Pakistan, traitors and terrorists trained and armed by Pakistan? Why Centre cares a damn for the lives of our soldiers, police and those staying in border areas who are killed in relentless firing by Pakistani Army when Centre stupidly and atrociously declares unilateral ceasefire knowing fully well that terrorists and traitors will then start killing Indians and Pakistan will start firing relentlessly as we saw recently in Arnia, Samba, RS Pura and others sectors in Jammu among other places?
                                          Is this not a betrayal of the national interests and the supreme interest of our soldiers and people living close to border areas? How long will Centre give a long rope to traitors, terrorists and Pakistan? How long will Centre brazenly ignore what former Army Vice Chief Lieutenant General AS Lamba (retd) said that, “A ceasefire inspires an environment that has hope for both sides. But when that is skewed against the army on ground…such periods are exploited by militants to end up in a situation (that can be described as) ‘Disadvantage Army’?”
                                           How long will Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman keep hoping that Pakistan would respond positively to the Ramzan ceasefire? Are we beggars that we will keep begging for peace? Are we beggars that they will keep kicking us and killing us and yet we will shout “Ramzan ka Cesefire” even as they continue heavy shelling along border areas?
                                        It is our Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman along with Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi who should deeply introspect on this and should stop fooling the people of India! How long will killing of our brave soldiers, armless people, women and children in border areas be shamelessly tolerated? How long will Centre keep ordering soldiers not to launch any attack on terrorists trained in Pakistan and keep waiting only to just defend in case of attack by terrorists?  Shameful!
                                       Terrorists and traitors just recently attacked Indian soldiers in large numbers who were offering sweets on the eve of Ramzan! Is Centre happy to see all this? Has Centre gone crazy?
                                  Does Ramzan means anything for Pakistan,  traitors and terrorists who only know how to kill and injure Indians? But Centre for reasons known best to it is just not ready to be more practical in its approach by not letting down any of its operations against traitors, terrorists and Pakistan whose sole aim is to bleed India by thousand cuts but our politicians still like a lunatic ignore the clear writing on the wall! They know fully well in whose hands they are playing! But the people of India are not fools!
                                    To say the least, just like Atal Bihari Vajpayee was punished most grievously for his “soft pussyfooting and mollycoddling Pakistan” policy similarly this government too is wrongly and stupidly exposing itself to be similarly treated by the people of India in the general elections in 2019 which is not very far away now! Which Indian will tolerate insult and killing of Indians by Pakistani soldiers?
                                        Why India is not breaking all relations with Pakistan even after former PM Nawaz Sharif’s candid admission that it were Pakistanis who perpetrated Mumbai attack of 26/11 in which more than 200 people lost their precious lives and many others were injured grievously! No law and no reason can justify appeasement of terrorists, traitors and Pakistan because this will surely lead our country on the road to complete disaster and annihilation! Terrorists, traitors and Pakistan should be certainly dealt with in the language they always understand best!  
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh. 
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