The names of iconic high courts of Madras, Calcutta and Bombay may not be changed in the near future as a bill moved in this regard has run into trouble and the revised one has to be introduced in Parliament. The High Court (Alteration of Names) Bill, 2016, was introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 19 to allow the names of the Calcutta, Madras and Bombay High Courts to be changed to Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai, respectively. But now the Tamil Nadu government has asked the Centre to rename the Madras High Court as ‘High Court of Tamil Nadu’ instead of ‘High Court of Chennai’ as proposed in the bill.
While the West Bengal government wants the Calcutta High Court to be renamed as Kolkata High Court, the high court has itself “not agreed for revised nomenclature”. Minister of State for Law P P Chaudhary said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today that the old bill will have to be revised and a new bill introduced. “The central government has sought views from the state governments concerned and the respective high courts for finalising a fresh bill. No timeframe can be fixed for finalising of the fresh bill and its introduction in Parliament,” he said.
The Calcutta High Court has the distinction of being the first high court and one of the three chartered high courts to be set up in India, along with the high courts of Bombay and Madras. It was formally opened on July 1, 1862. The ‘Indian High Court Act’ of 1861 vested in the Queen of England to issue letters patent to establish high courts of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay.
The Bombay High Court was inaugurated on August 14, 1862. The high court today has three benches at Nagpur, Aurangabad and Goa. The Bombay HC is one of the few institutions in Maharashtra that continues to carry the old name of the city. The state government renamed Bombay as Mumbai in 1995 and all institutions under it altered their names accordingly. The Madras High Court, which came into being around the same time, has one bench in Madurai.