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Ravishankar Prasad
Seeking to rename Bombay, Madras and Calcutta high courts to reflect the change in the names of cities they are located in, government today moved a bill in the Lok Sabha.

Seeking to rename Bombay, Madras and Calcutta high courts to reflect the change in the names of cities they are located in, government today moved a bill in the Lok Sabha, a day after Calcutta High Court judges unanimously rejected such a proposal.

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the High Courts (Alteration of Names) Bill which, once passed by Parliament, will replace Bombay, Madras and Calcutta with Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata respectively in the names of corresponding high courts.

“The high courts were named after the cities in which they were located. Consequence to the changes in the names of these cities, there has been demands for change in the names… 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 says.

“It will also fulfil the aspirations of the people of the states concerned,” it says.

Earlier, judges of Calcutta High Court had unanimously declined to accept the Centre’s proposal for renaming it as Kolkata High Court and communicated the view of the full court to the Union Law Ministry.

When the Cabinet had approved the bill earlier this month, it had proposed changes in the names of Bombay and Chennai high courts only.

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, Madras. It was formally opened on July 1, 1862.

Earlier, the government had planned to vest the President with powers to rename a high court in consultation with the Governor, the Chief Minister and the Chief Justice of that state. But the idea had been shelved. The government now plans to consider such demands of change in name on a case-by-case basis, sources said.