Lawyers Of West UP Are Compelled To Strike Repeatedly

What will the lawyers of West UP do on September 11? Strike. What will the lawyers of West UP do on September 12? Strike. What will the lawyers of West UP do on September 13? Strike. What will the lawyers of West UP do on September 14? Strike. In addition there has been no work earlier also in courts of West UP on 7 and 8 September!

                                         The law and order situation in West UP has been in shambles since last many decades but in last few years it has been worst with criminals gunning down even lawyers and police cops. Leave alone women or common man even the lawyers themselves are not safe in West UP. Time and again we hear some lawyer or the other being shot dead in broad daylight most brutally by criminals without any fear of law whatsoever. The Bar Council of UP too had called for strike as protest against killings but what really UP needs is more benches and more Judges in high courts which is truly missing!
                                          Such criminals know fully well that Allahabad High Court has the highest number of pending cases – about 10 lakh as compared to other states where the number of pending cases don’t exceed 1 lakh or at the most 2 lakhs cases! They know that they will easily get bail and by the time cases are finally decided they will die a natural death. This must change which is possible only if at least in my opinion 10 more benches of high court are created in different parts of UP! Such poor, hapless women and girls, for God sake, need more high court benches and not more temples or anti-Romeo squads!
                                               But see the unpalatable irony! Politicians are not prepared to create even a single bench anywhere in UP leave alone West UP even though they are ready to create many temples which is visited only by Hindus and here too they have to also go all the way to Allahabad to attend court hearing as there is no bench in West UP!  It is a matter of great shame that Allahabad High Court which last year on March 17had completed its 150th year of establishment has the least benches in India – only one at Lucknow and that too just about 150-200 km away from Allahabad! Why no high court bench in West UP at Meerut or Agra or at Jhansi or some other place?
                                          We all know that Allahabad High Court is the biggest court in whole of Asia and also the oldest court! Still why it has least benches in India only one which is so close to Allahabad created way back in 1948 at Lucknow by Nehruji but see the most dangerous irony that 70 years later with 2018 fast approaching no steps are being taken to create a high court bench anywhere else in UP leave alone West UP even though the 230th report of Law Commission very specifically recommended for the same in big states? Why Dr Manmohan Singh had the guts to create 2 more high court benches for just 4 and 8 districts in Dharwad and Gulbarga in Karnataka but neither he nor any other PM nor the present PM – Narendra Damodardas Modi has the guts to create even more bench not just in West UP but in any hook and corner of UP except the one created by Nehruji in Lucknow way back in 1948?  
                                              Why maximum crime, maximum riots, maximum killings all take place in West UP but still no high court bench? Why a lawless state like UP whom former UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon slammed as “the rape and crime capital of India” has least high court benches in India and West UP which owes for more than 57% of the pending cases as acknowledged by Justice Jaswant Singh Commission has not even a single high court bench? Why Karnataka which has less than 7 crore population, less than 2 lakh  cases pending has three high court benches but UP which has not 2 lakh or 3 lakh or 4 lakh or 5 lakh or 6 lakh or 7 lakh or 8 lakh or 9 lakh but more than 10 lakh cases pending in high courts and more than 50 lakhs in lower courts which is the highest in India and has more than 22 crore population has least high court benches in India and more than half of the vacancies of Judges in high court are lying vacant? Why this step-motherly treatment for UP which sends maximum MPs to Parliament and West UP in particular?
                                      Why when UP which is among the largest States, has maximum population – more than 22 crore as CM Yogi Adityanath keeps pointing out proudly every now and then, maximum districts – 75, maximum constituencies,  maximum MPs – 80, maximum MLAs – 404, maximum PM including Narendra Modi, maximum pending cases – more than 10 lakh and here too West UP accounts for more than half of pending cases as noted by Justice Jaswant Commission about 57%, maximum Judges which earlier was 160 and increased to 200 in high court, maximum vacancies of Judges – 75 in high court, maximum poverty, maximum villages more than one lakh  as opposed to other states who have not more than few thousands at the most, maximum cities more than 700, maximum fake encounters killings, custody killings, custodial tortures, maximum dowry cases, maximum rape and gang rape cases, maximum acid throwing cases, maximum bride burning cases, maximum cases of human rights violations, maximum undertrials, maximum cases of crime, loot, arson and riots and here too West UP tops with Saharanpur riots, Meerut riots, Muzaffarnagar riots tarnishing our international reputation to the extent that former UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon termed UP as “crime and rape capital” of India and what not yet Centre is not prepared to create even a single bench for not just West UP but entire UP? Why when UP sends maximum MPs to Lok Sabha – 80, maximum MPs to Rajya Sabha – 30, maximum MLAs to State Assembly – 404 MLAs and maximum members to State Legislative Council – 100 MLAs and yet has least benches – only one and that too just 150 km away from Allahabad at Lucknow?
                                                It is so shocking and disgusting to see that West UP is fast becoming the epicenter of all kinds of crimes, rapes, gangrapes, brutal murders, mass murders, dacoity, robbery and what not! What is even more shocking to see is that all political parties barring Samajwadi Party have openly espoused the creation of a high court bench in West UP but still even after seventy years of independence we see no sign of it happening anytime soon! What is most shocking is that inspite of West UP accounting for more than half of the crime cases all over UP, not a single high court bench has been created here since 1947 till now even though a high court bench was created at Lucknow which is just about 150-200 km away from Allahabad way back on July 1, 1948!
                                      This alone explains why the lawyers of West UP have been demanding a high court bench here since ages! Lawyers in West UP are not safe even from policemen. A lawyer Suresh Raj was brutally thrashed by cops in Greater Noida some time back. Still no FIR was lodged against the erring cops. To protest this, the lawyers of West UP will be on strike fromSeptember 11 to 14 and this may extend even further if still no action is taken. It is most hurting to see that lawyers of West UP are compelled to go on strike again and again! But it seems no one is caring!
                                          What the lawyers of West UP did for full 3 months in 2014-15? Strike demanding a high court bench in West UP and ended only after assurances from Arun Jaitley of looking into the matter! What did Centre do in last 3 years? Nothing but assurances and the most firm assurance from Centre came from none other than Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh!
                                         In 2001, the lawyers of West UP went on strike thus becoming non-practising lawyers not for 6 days or 6 weeks but for full 6 months consecutively demanding high court bench but again they got nothing but only empty assurances! This has happened many times in the past also! Lawyers of West UP have been regularly striking work every Saturdaysince May 1981 demanding the creation of a high court bench in West UP! They protested that Justice Jaswant Singh Commission headed by Justice Jaswant Singh who was a former Supreme Court Judge had recommended the creation of 3 benches in West UP but not a single bench created till now even though benches were created for Aurangabad in Maharashtra, Madurai in Tamil Nadu and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal! We saw how in June newspapers were flooded with breaking news that Brijesh Pathak who is the Law Minister of Uttar Pradesh had firmly reiterated that, “Western Uttar Pradesh will soon have a high court bench. We will discuss the details soon and inform you.” But three months later we are still seeing no action on the ground!    
                                             Why even though it was way back in 1955 that Dr Sampoornanand who was the then UP CM had recommended a high court bench at Meerut but Centre refused even though it was approved for Lucknow? Why inspite of recommendations from so many other UP CM – 17 as the President of Meerut Bar –  Rohitashawa Kumar Aggarwal disclosed about an year back did we see no high court bench coming up in any of the 26 districts of West UP and when Uttarakhand was also part of West UP and UP about 40 districts?  Why there are so many other capitals like Bhopal, Dehradun, Bhubaneshwar, Thiruvananthapuram etc where there is neither high court nor bench but Lucknow inspite of being so close to Allahabad was selected for bench leaving the hilly areas of Uttarakhand and West UP high and dry?
                                            If a high court bench is created it is “poorest of poor” and the most deprived and hapless women who will benefit most as they will be saved from the unnecessary trouble of travelling so far and spending so much extra money, time etc to just attend one hearing alone! Centre must have some pity on woman at least who are most unsafe in lawless UP and especially West UP and immediately order creation of more benches not just in West UP but also in other parts of UP where the crime rate is high! Crime rate is highest in West UP which necessitates creation of bench here on  a war footing!    
                                      Who will benefit if more high court benches are built –  Hindus alone or Muslims alone or Sikhs alone or Christians alone? No, all people of all religions will benefit equally if more high court benches are built especially in UP which is notorious for being the “rape and crime capital of India” as former UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon put it aptly! Then why can’t a single bench be built here more than 70 years after independence in 2018!
                                        Why inspite of BJP leaders being killed most ruthlessly in West UP as happened recently still Centre is taking no steps to create a high court bench in West UP? Why Nehruji had the great guts to set up a high court bench in Lucknow just about 200 km away from Allahabad where high court is located and that too 70 years ago in 1948 and so also Dr Manmohan Singh had the guts to set up 2 more benches for Karnataka which already had a bench at Hubli but no Prime  Minister till date with 2018 about to start has summoned the courage to set up not a single more bench in UP leave alone West UP or in Bihar which is another lawless state and which has not even a single high court bench?
                                                  Why are lawyers of West UP forced to become non-practising lawyers by going on strike again and again sometimes for 3 months or 6 months or for many weeks or for few days as they will do now on 11, 12, 13 and 14 September, 2017 and everySaturday since 1981 and even many times on Wednesday? Why lawyers including senior lawyers are compelled to block highways, lie down in front of a train and indulge in different form of protest on roads and highways instead of practicing quietly since last many decades and even go on padyatra demanding bench?  Why this has just no effect on Centre? Why even Atal Bihari Vajpayee raised the demand of a high court bench in West UP inside Parliament way back in 1986?
                                    Misbauddin Siddiqui who is the President of the Meerut District Bar Association lamented, “The problem is that the Allahabad High Court has the highest number of pending cases. The pressure is huge. Allahabad is very far from Western UP. It is around 800 km from Saharanpur. Eight other high courts are closer to Western UP, and interestingly Lahore High Court in Pakistan is closer than Allahabad High Court. The cost of travelling to Allahabad, and then staying there is huge for poor people. That is why we have been demanding a high court bench. Successive governments have denied us this. Now, we are hopeful as there is the same party in both the Centre and state and the law minister has given us an assurance.” But after nearly six months we still see no signs of any action in creating a bench in West UP! All we see is strike, strike and nothing but strike and no work in the courts of the 26 districts of West UP!
                                            Why the newly appointed Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court Justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhonsle rightly lashed out at the law and order situation in UP and said that in Maharashtra women or girl venture out in night anywhere yet never such incidents of gang rape occur? Yet why Maharashtra has 3 benches and UP only one and West UP none? Why Rajnath Singh who is Union Home Minister while addressing public gathering in Patiyali constituency of Kasarganj district is on record stating in February 2017 that UP reported 7,673 riots, 4660 murder, 4096 robberies and 260 dacoities in just one year yet it has least benches in India and West UP has none where maximum crime incidents are reported?     
                                    Why West UP has an area of 98,933 square km which accounts for 33.61 percent of total area of UP and yet no bench but Lucknow in Central region has just 62,363 square km and yet it has a bench?   Centre has all the power to create a high court bench in West UP without any recommendation from the state government as the former Attorney General Soli J Sorabjee had rightly said way back in 2001 when he was asked about it. He had rightly said that, “The Centre without any recommendation from the State Chief Minister or Chief Justice of a State is fully empowered under our Constitution to set up a high court bench anywhere it wants at its own volition.”  Why Centre ignores blithely what the Chairman of Supreme Court Bar Association Krishna Mani had said quite explicitly that, “Only by the creation of a bench of high court in West UP will the people be able to secure speedy and cheap justice at their doorsteps!” You see for yourself the distance from Allahabad to all major districts of West UP and they are as follows: –
District                          Distance
Meerut                          737 km
Muzzaffarnagar            793 km
Saharanpur                  752 km
Ghaziabad                    707 km
Bijnore                          792 km
Gautambuddhnagar     750 km
Bulandshahr                 737 km
Hathras                         750 km
Rampur                         733 km
Moradabad                    762 km
Aligarh                           701 km
Mathura                         601 km
Agra                               564 km
Etah                               597 km
Mainpuri                         562 km
Shamli                            720 km
Hapur                             700 km
Sambhal                         650 km
Amroha                     792 km                                                
                                       Still should a high court bench not be created in West UP? Even former Law Minister Kapil Sibal had recommended creation of a bench as former Union Minister RPN Singh pointed out but the then UP CM Akhilesh Yadav didn’t agree! No Prime Minister in principle has ever opposed the demand for a bench in West UP still we see no bench coming up!

                                         How many points should I write to drive home my billion dollar point that creation of a high court bench in West Up is the crying need of the hour? I can keep going on endlessly as to why West UP must have a high court bench and UP also more benches but what is most shocking is that not a single bench is coming up anywhere in UP even though now both UP and Centre is being ruled by same party – BJP as PM Modi still is no mood to relent! UP CM Yogi Adityanath himself raised the demand for a bench inside Parliament a long time back in 1998-99 but now even he feels helpless as Centre is not relenting! Why? Why Rajinder Aggarwal who is BJP MP from Meerut demanded the setting up of 3 benches in UP at Meerut, Agra and Gorakhpur right inside Parliament and Satyapal Malik another BJP MP who was recently made Union Minister too demanded the setting up of 5 more benches in UP at Meerut, Agra, Jhansi, Gorakhpur and Varanasi but Centre is not prepared to set up even one bench anywhere in UP?  Why this senseless stubbornness in denying even a single bench to West UP and UP? This nation wants to know why? When a high court bench can be set up for Andaman and Nicobar Islands at Port Blair for just 3 lakh people residing there and high court for small states like Sikkim, Tripura, Meghalaya and Manipur among others where the population is just few lakhs and cases pending don’t exceed few thousand or even hundred as in Sikkim then why not for more than 9 crore people residing in 26 districts in West UP who are wrongly compelled to travel about 700-800 km on an average as there is no bench in West UP? 

Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.