PIL before Supreme Court to shift Allahabad HC to original seat at Agra | Check the history

Allahabad-High-CourtSupreme Court of India has dismissed a public interest litigation seeking a direction from the court under Article 142 of the Constitution to set up the main seat of the High Court for the state of Uttar Pradesh at Agra instead of Allahabad, in terms of the terms of the Indian High Court Act, 1861.

Dismissing the petition, Chief Justice of India TS Thakur observed that such a judicial order cannot be issued by the court.

The petitioner Pt. Nawin Sharma appeared in person before the bench which also comprised of Justice UU Lalit.

The petition prays:

Issue a Writ or direction in the nature of Mandamus-Directing the Respondents No: 1 & 2, even by invoking the power enshrined under Article 142 of the Constitution of India, to create infrastructure and necessary establishment for setting up the main seat of the High Court at AGRA, which is the Principal Seat of High Court for Uttar Pradesh (formerly United Provinces) in terms of the Indian High Court Act 1861.


We tried to dig a little into the history:

Before 1861

Prior to the setting up of an High Court for the present day Uttar Pradesh, the highest court for the region was that of Sudder Dewani and Nizamat Adalat for the North-Western Provinces. This Court sat at Agra, although Bengal Regulation VI of 1831 had provided that it was ” to be ordinarily stationed at Allahabad “.


The 1861 Act

With an aim to implement uniformity in the administration of Justice and to amalgamate the Supreme Courts and Sadar Adalats, British Parliament passed the Indian High Courts Act in 1861 (24 and 25 Vic. C104) whereby Her Majesty was empowered to abolish the Supreme Courts and Sadar Adalats, and in their place to constitute a High Court of Judicature for each of the three Presidencies, which should be the supreme over all the Courts in the Presidency towns and also in the Mofussil.


Setting up of High Court

The Letters Patent setting up the High Court were issued on the March 17, 1866 and published in the Gazette of India on June 13, 1866 and the High Court came into existence and the Court of Sudder Dewani and Nizamat Adalat ceased to exist. It appears that as the local Government favoured the early establishment of a High Court, temporary accommodation was provided for six Judges at Agra. (Only temporary accommodation was required as the decision had already been taken to erect a new building in Allahabad for the Sudder Court).

The first Chief Justice and the Judges of the High Court  of North Western Provinces at Allahabad were named in the above Letters Patent itself. The main difficulty in the way of the transfer to Allahabad was, it seems, the housing of the new High Court, and its Judges. In its third year of existence, Court was divided between Agra and Allahabad, the Chief Justice and three Judges sitting at Agra and two Judges at Allahabad. For three years, during 1866 to 1869 the High Court thus formed, continued to function at Agra and it was not before the autumn of 1869 when the Chief Justice first sat at Allahabad.

Thus in the year 1869, the seat of the ‘High Court for the North-Western Provinces’ came to be shifted from Agra to Allahabad. In the year 1919, its designation was altered to ‘the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad’ in 1919 by a supplementary Letters Patent issued on March 11, 1919. This designation continues upto the present day. Later, on February 25, 1948, the Chief Court of Oudh was also amalgamated with the High Court of Allahabad.


Also Read:

The historical journey of High Court of Delhi which is celebrating its Golden Jubilee in 2016.

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