PIL in Supreme Court Seeks Renaming of High Court of Bombay

A former judge of the Labor Court filed a PIL in the Apex Court today. He sought directions to change the name of the ‘High Court of Bombay‘ to that of ‘High Court of Maharashtra‘. V P Patil had served his tenure from 1974 eventually taking voluntary retirement in the year 2000. He put forward the argument that the term “Maharashtra” holds a special significance in the heart of every Maharashtrian.  The former judge highlighted the importance of culture and heritage asking it to be expressed in their native judiciary system. He strengthened his argument by citing Articles 19, 21 and 29 of the Indian Constitution.

Contentions of the PIL

He emphasized that the name change would play a major role in uplifting “the socio, political and cultural rights of Maharashtrian as guaranteed by the Constitution of India“. Furthermore, he pointed out that Article 21 that guarantees right to life also includes right to autonomy. Moreover, the Bombay State Reorganization Act, 1960 had amended the First Schedule of the Constitution. Thus not effectuating the name change would be an act of arbitrariness.

A Lapsed Solution

Another aspect that was highlighted was the High Court (Alternation of Names) Bill, 2016. This Bill failed to reach a consensus in the Parliament; thus, the bill lapsed. This Bill was to address issues similar to the current situation. For instance, it dealt with the problems of renaming of High Courts in Calcutta and Madras to Kolkata and Chennai respectively. This Bill also sought to consider renaming the ‘High Court Judicature at Bombay’ to ‘High Court of Judicature at Mumbai’.

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