Friday, August 17, 2012


n exhibition at Central Hall of Bombay High Court takes us through over 300 years of the citys judicial past


As a court reporter sitting through case after case,making sure that every technicality is covered and that no detail is missed or misunderstood,it is easy to forget what the corridors of the Bombay High Court have stood for decades.An exhibition at the Central Hall of the High Court's second floor is showcasing a fascinating compilation of the most significant documents in the city's over 300-year-old judicial history.
From King George II's 1753 charter creating Mayor's court,Royal charters for the creation of the Supreme Court and High Courts to India's most famous lawyer M K Gandhi's application and eventual debarment from the advocate's roll,the exhibition is a unique collage of Indian judiciary under and after the British Raj.
As the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Mohit Shah notes in the visitor's book: "This exhibition is simply wonderful.It takes back to those days when the judges,barristers and advocates as well as the prothonotary's office were literally laying the foundation of our judicial system,dating back to more than 300 years."
The month-long exhibition was thrown open to the public on Thursday.Here are a few of the most important documents being showcased at the HC's Central Hall.


Central Hall,Second Floor,Bombay High Court,Fort




10 am to 6 pm

(From right) On display at the Central Hall are an attorneys roll between 1824 and 1976,one of the first typewriters in the Bombay HCs history dating back to 1905 (the earliest known typewriter is said to have come to HC in 1900),the gown of a prothonotary and a judges wig.The Central Hall on the second floor of the Bombay High Court where the month-long exhibition started on Thursday.It is the same Central Hall where three sedition trials against Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak were conducted between 1897 and 1916.
Also on display were applications by the likes of Lokmanya Tilak,Mohammed Ali Jinnah seeking admission as advocates.On display were Gandhis June 1891 certificate,his November 1891 application to be enrolled as an advocate,and his eventual debarment in January 1923
Queen Victorias 1862 charter by which four High Courts were established in India --Bombay,Delhi,Madras and Calcutta.Though names of three of these cities may have changed,their High Courts are still known by the original names.
King George IVs 1823 charter to establish the Indian Supreme Court --called as Letters Patent.The exhibition also displayed a 1753 charter of establishment of the Mayors court.
Justice M C Chagla -- the first Chief Justice of Independent Indias Bombay High Court.Also on display are the certificate issued to him by the Inner Temple dated June 28,1922,and the application written by Justice Chagla requesting to be enrolled as an advocate at the Bombay High Court on September 14,1922.
The Chief Justices mace,which is placed on front of the dais in whichever court he presides on.The Indian Emblem replaced the British Emblem after the country gained Independence,but rest of the body remains the same as it was during the British Raj.
Pictures of Bombay between 1900 and 1914 at the Central Hall.The pictures are a part of personal collection of Solicitor Rajan Jayakar.
A visitor looks at Dr.Bhimrao Ambedkars certificate for Utter Barrister,issued by the Society of Grays Inn dated June 28,1922.
Mahatma Gandhis application seeking admission as an advocate to the Bombay High Court dated November 16,1891.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patels certificate issued by the Middle Temple in January 1913,and his application seeking enrollment
Lower denomination stamp papers of King Edward VII -- 2 annas,3 annas and 5 annas -- and high denomination stamp paper of Rs 25,000 by King George VI