While Allahabad has become Prayagraj, Allahabad High Court may still have to wait for a change in name. There was “no proposal under consideration at present for changing the name of Allahabad High Court,” the Department of Justice has stated in response to a Right To Information (RTI) application filed by The Indian Express.
The application had also sought details on a 2016 Bill to rename the High Courts of Madras, Calcutta and Bombay. The ministry stated in its reply that the query has been marked to the official concerned.
The High Court (Alteration of Names) Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 29, 2016 by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to modify the names of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras high courts. The alteration was meant to reflect the change of names of these cities – Bombay became Mumbai in 1995, Madras renamed Chennai in 1996, and Calcutta rechristened Kolkata in 2001.
The statement of objects and reasons for the Bill had stated that consequent to the change of name of the Bombay, Calcutta and Madras, there were also demands for change in the names of the high courts in these cities. The High Courts of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras were established in pursuance of Letters Patent issued by the British Queen in terms of the Indian High Courts Act, 1861, passed by the British Parliament — the Madras HC was established in 1862, and Calcutta and Bombay HCs in 1865.
After the Constitution of India came into force, these high courts have continued to exist and exercise their jurisdiction in terms of Article 225.
“At present, there is no central law under which the proposal to change the names of these High Courts can be addressed. The proposed legislation is to address this requirement,” the Bill stated. “…It is appropriate and logical that the names of these High Courts are also changed as per the request of the State Governments.” The Bill, however, did not go through since some states and high courts had raised concerns.
Replying to a question by BJP MP Kirit Somayya in Lok Sabha in December 2016 on the status of the Bill and the time-frame set by the government to effect the name change, Minister of State for Law and Justice P P Chaudhary had said that Tamil Nadu had requested that ‘High Court of Madras’ be changed as ‘High Court of Tamil Nadu’ and that “the High Court of Calcutta has also not agreed for revised nomenclature”.
“As such, the Bill has to be revised and fresh Bill is to be introduced. The Central Government has sought views from concerned State Governments and respective High Courts for finalising (a) fresh Bill,” the minister had said. “No time-frame can be fixed for finalisation of the fresh Bill and its introduction in Parliament.”