Today I got the opportunity to visit Calcutta High Court along with my junior colleague for official purpose. This is my first visit to Calcutta High Court. There was a huge line in gate E. At the entry point by producing one identity proof like Aadhar/PAN/Voter ID/Passport/Driving license etc. they will issue one red colored slip and you are allowed to check in. As my colleague had a good rapport with security personnel we entered Calcutta High Court within few minutes.
Since Calcutta became one of the noticeable cities in the British Empire, lots of Europeans moved in for job or to settle down here and to do business. So were the companies to take care of the needs of the British India government’s contract works, etc. and other works. Because of wheeling and dealings by business people, several legal issues gathered up including criminal and civil offenses. Therefore, it became authoritative for the ruling government to have a judicial court established in Kolkata for quick disposal of pending cases.
The Calcutta High Court is that the oldest High Court in India. It has jurisdiction over the state of West Bengal and therefore the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The high courts are the principal civil courts of original jurisdiction in every state and union territory. However, a High Court exercises its original civil and criminal jurisdiction provided that the subordinate courts aren’t approved by law to do such matters for lack of economic, regional jurisdiction. High courts may also enjoy unique jurisdiction in certain matters, if so designated precisely in a state or federal law.
However, the work of most high courts primarily consists of appeals from lower courts and legal instrument petitions in terms of Article 226 of the constitution. Writ jurisdiction is additionally a resourceful jurisdiction of a court. The precise territorial jurisdiction of every court is completely different. The attractiveness order is that the following: tehsil-kotwali-criminal/civil courts → district court → court → supreme court.
The Calcutta High Court building’s design is based on the Cloth Hall, Ypres, in Belgium. The Cloth Hall is a large, a medieval commercial building, in Ypres, Belgium. It was one among the biggest business buildings of the center Ages, when it served as the main market and warehouse for the Flemish city’s prosperous cloth industry. The original structure, founded mainly in the 13th century and completed 1304, lay in ruins after artillery fire devastated Ypres in World War I.
The courthouse functioned in a two storied building built in the Neo-Gothic style by the side of the Writers’ Buildings. The same building was used as the Town Hall of Calcutta for a particular period. This historical building was pulled down in 1792 and replaced by the present building in 1832.
The court has sanctioned judge strength of 72. The Calcutta High Court is the oldest High Court in India. It was established as the High Court of Judicature (the administration of justice) at Fort William on 1 July 1862 under the High Court’s Act, 1861, which was preceded by the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William.
Despite the name of the city having formally modified from Calcutta to Kolkata in 2001, the Court, as an institution retained the old name. The bill to rename it as Kolkata High Court was approved by the Cabinet on 5 July 2016 along with the renaming of its two other counterparts in Chennai and Mumbai. However, the High Court still retains the old name.
The seat of the Calcutta High Court is at Kolkata, capital of West Bengal. As per the Calcutta court (Extension of Jurisdiction) Act, 1953, the Calcutta High Court’s jurisdiction was extended to cover Chandannagar and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as of 2 May 1950. Chandannagar is a city in the Hooghly district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It was a former French colony, located in the western bank of Hooghly River. The Calcutta High Court stretched its Circuit Bench in Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and in Jalpaiguri, the divisional headquarters of the North Bengal region. On 7 February 2019, President Ram Nath Kovind finalized the opening of the other circuit bench in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal.
The current Chief Justice is Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan. He was the first justice of the Telangana court for the State of Telangana for three months.Sir Barnes Peacock was the first justice of the court. He assumed the charge once the court was founded on 1 July 1862. Justice Romesh Chandra Mitra was the primary Indian officiating justice and Justice Phani Bhushan Chakravartti was the first Indian permanent chief justice of the court. The longest serving chief justice was Justice Sankar Prasad Mitra. On 20 Sept 1871, the acting Chief Justice, Sir John Paxton Norman, was murdered on the steps of the courthouse by Wahhabi Muslims named Abdullah. (Ref- Ivermee, Robert. Secularism, Islam and Education in India, 1830–1910. Wahhabism is an Muslim belief and spiritual movement based by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab.
Sharing information, for the first time in the history of Calcutta High Court, a film maker has been allowed to enter with his camera to shoot inside the majestic building. Director Gautam Ghosh has been commissioned to shoot the first-ever documentary on the high court, which is the first in the country.