The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the Centre's response in a PIL seeking seeking directions to change the name of 'High Court of Bombay' to 'High Court of Maharashtra'.
A bench of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justices SA Bopanna & Hrishikesh Roy took up for hearing, the petition filed by Retired Labour Court Judge VP Patil.
Patil avers in his petition that the word "Maharashtra" denotes special significance in the life of a Maharashtrian and that its usage must also find expression in the name of the High Court as an expression of cultural and right to heritage as protected under Articles 19, 21, 29 of the Constitution of India.
The petitioner contends that having the same name of the High Court as the name of the State shall lessen the confusion that arises in multiplicity of names. That the same name of the High Court and the State is in the interest of the public, the petitioner argues.
The PIL states, inter alia that-
"The cultural assertion of a Maharashtrian remains in jeopardy by not renaming a public institution like the Hon'ble High Court of Bombay, this Hon'ble Court may uplift the socio, political and cultural rights of Maharashtrian as guaranteed by the Constitution of India."
The High Court (Alternation of Names) Bill, 2016 was introduced in the Parliament of India for changing of the names of various High Courts in the country. For example the bill sought change of 'High Court of Judicature at Bombay' to 'High Court of Judicature at Mumbai' and similarly, change in the names of High Courts at Calcutta, Madras to Kolkata and Chennai.
The aforesaid bill of 2016 lapsed in the Parliament as it could not get passed due to lack of consensus between the States.
Apropos this, the petitioner judge avers that the High Court ought to appreciate that the right to autonomy forms part of the right to life as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Nomenclature of a public institution is part of the right to autonomy of a Maratha/Maharashtrian.
The petition also seeks for the High Court to appreciate that the Bombay State Reorganization Act, 1960 amended the first schedule of the Constitution of India as regards State of Maharashtra and Gujarat and it is arbitrary on the part of respondents to not to effectuate the change of nomenclature of the High Court as per the State.
"It has been a longstanding demand of the people of Maharashtra to alter the name of the Bombay High Court to the High Court of Maharashtra. It is humbly submitted that the change of name being a fundamental right of the Citizens of Maharashtra and in absence of legislative step, this Hon'ble Court may step in and fill the vacuum in law." - Excerpt of Plea