High Court Bench at Udaipur – Demand is highly justified
For the last four decades, the agitation is on with a demand to establish a bench of Rajasthan High Court at Udaipur. This agitation is not new and in the span of over forty years major political parties namely Congress, BJP and Janta party ruled the state but the voice of state went unheard totally.
For the last four decades, the agitation is on with a demand to establish a bench of Rajasthan High Court at Udaipur.
Presently, the HC has only one bench at Jaipur and jurisdiction of Jaipur bench is comprising of 15 districts. Udaipur region has a different geographical scenario and it is not well connected with Jodhpur. After gauge conversion, direct train connection with Jodhpur is gone and broad gauge connection is nowhere in sight.
This region is mostly consisting of tribal belt and it is an uphill task for a litigant to travel to Jodhpur in absence of suitable and frequent transportation system in place. It is an irony that before independence, Mewar had its own High Court and post-independence all princely state High Courts were merged and a single High Court at Jodhpur was established.
The then Chief Justice of Mewar State High Court Justice Jawan Singh Ranawat was made a judge of Rajasthan High Court at Jodhpur and later he became Chief Justice. Thus, post-independence the tribal belt of Mewar is deprived of High Court.
Bench at Jaipur was in existence but it was abolished later. However, on popular demand, the bench was re-established 1976 having jurisdiction over 15 districts.
It may be seen that a bench at Udaipur would be extremely useful and easy for the people of region including the districts of Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara, Pratapgarh, Chitorgarh, Rajsamand, Bhilwara, Bundi and even the district of Sirohi can be included in the jurisdiction.
This agitation is not new and in the span of over forty years major political parties namely Congress, BJP and Janta party ruled the state but the voice of state went unheard totally.
If we look at the geography of Rajasthan, today the state happened to be largest state area wise in India. It has different geographical regions like hilly terrain of Mewar and desert of Marwar. The absence of proper mode of travel makes the situation worst and it is not easy for a petitioner residing in Banswara or Dungarpur or Pratapgarh to travel to Jodhpur. Many a small states in India have multiple benches of High Court. In certain states, circuit benches are in place just to facilitate people. Let us look at the table below, which indicate the states where benches of principal High Court are functioning:
The above table would indicate that the state of Karnataka which is area wise just 56 % of Rajasthan state has two benches located at Dharwad and Gulbarga. Similarly, the state of Maharashtra which is 90 % area wise as compared to Rajasthan has 3 benches located at Aurangabad, Nagpur and Panaji, where the Panaji benches can be ignored as the same is meant for the state of Goa. The MP High Court has two benches at Indore and Gwalior. The example of Gauhati High Court is not taken into consideration since it is catering four states of North East. If the above table and comparison drawn is any indication, the demand of High Court bench at Udaipur is just and legal. Unfortunately, inspite of such a long agitation, the voice of Mewar region went unheard.
After 70 years of independence, nation could not fulfill its commitment towards the betterment of tribal belt of Mewar and Vagad. The belt is comprising of tribal population of bheel, meena, garasia and gameti. Only Sahria tribal is not inhabitant of this belt. The region suffers from inadequacy of education, employment, awareness. The unemployment forced the netizens to migrate to state of Gujarat in hunt of livelihood. This includes child migration and girls. In order to give social justice effectively, a bench of High Court at Udaipur may do wonders.
While next state assembly is near, the agitation is going to be intense. The former speaker of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly Shanti LalChaplot has announced that from 16th May onwards he is going to be on hunger strike. Chaplot (72) is a veteran leader, five time MLA from Mavli, former MP Loksabha and was speaker of assembly.He was also a minister in Bhairon Singh Shekhawat ministry. He is a senior advocate too. Apparently, the time has come that the common citizen should join the demand for a bench at Udaipur.
Mahendra K Kothari is Honorary Correspondent, Udaipurtimes