Thursday, 16 February 2017

Amazing Patna High Court and its colonial link

 Patna High Court in the city of Patna, the administrative capital of  Bihar is a historical court established on 3 February 1916 and later affiliated with the Government of India as per the Act of 1915. Subsequent to the proclamation made by the government of India on 22 March 1912,  Viceroy and Governor-General of India, Sir Charles Hardinge laid the foundation-stone of the High Court Building on 1 December 1913 and he himself formally opened the High Court building on 3 February 1916 accompanied by the then Bihar Lieutenant Governor Sir Edward Gait. Hon. Sir Justice
Viceroy Hardinge and Patna High Court bldg. archive.news18.com
Edward Maynard Des Champs Chamier happened to be the first Chief Justice of Patna High Court. He was a no non-sense justice 
and a strong advocate of separation of judiciary from the executive, which, under the British rule, was headed by the Viceroy.

When Charles Baron Hardinge laid the foundation of the Patna High Court building roughly 103 years ago,  he had predicted that “this court will make history in the days to come.” It was in 1948 Patna High Court had jurisdiction over the territories of the Province of Bihar & Orissa until 26 July 1948.  In November 2000, a separate High Court was formed for the new state Jharkhand. A new record was created here for the first and last time in the history of Independent India that an Advocate General (AG) was appointed directly as the chief justice of any high court. Senior lawyer
First justice after 1947. l.K.Jha Patna High Court TopYaps
Laxmi Kant Jha,  the AG of Bihar onApril 4, 1948, was directly appointed the chief justice of Patna High Court on 8 April 1950. Jha continued as the CJ till 1 June 1952. In 2013, this court celebrated its 100th year and the chief guest was Pranab Mukerjee, President of India. This court made history by sending 3 justices to the Supreme Court. They are:
Justice BP Sinha, the first judge of Patna High court to be appointed the Chief Justice of India (retd. in 1964). Later Justice Lalit Mohan Sharma (1987) and Justice RM Lodha as the CJI in 2014.

 After India's independence (August 1947), Hon. Pandit Lakhami Kant Jha was the first Indian Chief Justice of Patna High Court. As for woman justice, credit goes to Hon. Mrs. Justice Indu Prabha Singh, the first woman judge of Patna High Court. She also had the honor of being the first woman to hold justice post at Patna High Court and its Ranchi Bench. Yet another honor for this court is the justice position held by Hon.
Patna HC and Supreme HC. Mrs. Justice Gyan Sudha Misra. YouTube
Mrs. Justice Gyan Sudha Misra, the second lady judge of Patna High Court. She is also the first woman judge of the Supreme Court of India from Bihar.
Hon. Ms. Justice Rekha Doshit, the Chief Justice of Patna High Court; and the first woman to hold this coveted office.

 Some important facts of Patna High Court:

01. Patna High Court was founded after the division of Bihar and Odisha (then Orissa) from Bengal in 1912.

02. Renowned Architect Munnings, assisted by  AM Millwood, designed this beautiful building. The unique feature is its look of a country club of palladium type following a neo-classical style with fine details.
Patna High court, Patna. StampGallery.Com
03. The architectural features such as U-shaped structure, an elevated center with a pedimented portico, the high dome over the central hall of the structure and the Doric columns in the front, and an arcaded colonnaded veranda all around enhance the beauty of this colonial building in this part of the city.

04. Not withstanding its size, “Patna High Court building", to some extent,  follows the model of  the Allahabad High court building and the building contractor was 
“Martin Burn of Kolkata (then Calcutta). 

05. Its first  judge  Chamier was a strong believer of "Judiciary Autonomy", and never allowed more than six officiating justices 
(vide SK Katriar, author of the book “Patna High Court – A centenary of glory”). Hence, the chief justice  Sir Edward Chamier in March 1916 refused to invite the then Bihar Lieutenant Governor Sir Edward Gait.

Patna High_Court, Patnawww.deccanherald.co
06. It was a tradition then that a lawyer had to  get the permission of the chief justice or the registrar to practise in the court. India's first President, Rajendra Prasad, on February 25, 1916 applied to this high court for permission to practise law. It was true of the first president of the Constituent Assembly Sachchidanand Sinha who practised law here.

07. Sir Fazi Ali who was the first Indian to be sworn in as the CJ. Justice Ali served as the chief justice from 1943 to 1946 toward the end of the colonial era. Later he held the justice post in the supreme court and the post of Governor of Orissa.

08. Hon. Pandit Lakshmi Kant Jha was the first Indian justice after India's independence.

\09. The first constitutional amendment was made on June 18, 1951 after the Patna High Court declared the Land Reforms Act 1950 as unconstitutional.

 10. In 1972 - Patna High Court opened a Circuit Bench at Ranchi and ultimately it became Jharkhand High Court in November 2000.
 Ref:

 http://www.deccanherald.com/content/494135/some-little-known-facts-patna.html 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patna_High_Court