Vice President of India Hamid Ansari inaugurated the 150th anniversary Celebrations of Calcutta High Court here on Saturday.
Ansari lauded the leading role of the Calcutta High Court in laying the foundation, over the decades, for the development of the Indian jurisprudence in the field of Constitutional, criminal, civil and commercial law.
He underlined the gaping need of mitigating the existing reasons for delay in justice delivery in the Indian courts.
Ansari expressed serious concern that "Today there is a pendency of over 56 thousand cases in the Supreme Court, of which around 36 thousand are arrears constituting cases which are more than one year old. The pendency in the High Courts and Subordinate Courts as of 31 December 2010 was around 3.2 crore cases, of which around 85 lakh were over five year old."
Chief Justice of Kolkata High Court justice Mr J N Patel was the host and the guests include Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Law minister Maloy Ghatak apart from host of judicial luminaries.
Calcutta High Court is one of the first three High Courts of India. The two others are Bombay High Court and Madras High Court. If the legacy of the first Supreme Court is taken into account, it would be 238th year of judicial service.
Initially, the High Court started functioning from the old Supreme Court building at the then Fort William. The Court moved to its present building 140 years back. This building is also a marvel of architecture. A revealer in Belgium may wonder how the Calcutta High Court is replicated there! In fact, this building was built as a replica of Stand House of Ypres, Belgium. But, after fire turned the Stand House ash, the blue print of Calcutta High Court helped to rebuilt new Stand House at Ypres.
The Calcutta High Court’s original jurisdiction was undivided Bengal-Bihar-Orissa and Andaman. Now, it’s limited within the state and Andaman-Nicobar Islands.
Famous legal luminaries Justice Dwarka Nath Mitter, Justice Ramesh Chandra Mitter, Justice Sir Chunder Madhab Ghosh, Justice Gooroodas Banerji, Justice Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee and Justice Phani Bhusan Chakravartti were Judges here and later adorned the Chair of the Chief Justice of this High Court.
Justice Chakravartti is the first Indian to become Permanent Chief Justice of any High Courts in India. He took over charges from Chief Justice Arthur Trevor Harris in 1952 and was succeeded by Justice Kulada Charan Das Gupta. Justice Sankar Prasad Mitra is the longest serving Chief Justice of this Court.
Great social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s son Justice Rama Prasad Roy, Justice Shyama Prasad Mukherjee (son of Sir Ashutosh), Justice Sumboo Nath Pundit, Justice Sarada Charan Mitter and Justice Ashutosh Chaudhuri are among other luminaries who have adorned the Judges’ chairs in this Court.
Founder of the Indian National Congress Woomesh Chunder Banerjee and the first President of India Babu Rajendra Prasad practiced here. Barristers and Advocates like J T Woodroffe, Man Mohan Ghosh, Sarada Charan Mitter, Tarak Nath Palit, Lord Satyendra Prasanna Sinha, Deshbandhu Chitta Ranjan Das, Nripendra Nath Sarkar, (Retired as Advocate General of India), Rash Behari Ghosh, Sarat Chandra Bose have brightened the fame of this High Court and Indian judicial system.
Barrister Woodroffe was later attracted to Indian Tantra and rediscovered a forgotten Indian Tantra. He later scribed several books on Tantra.