Why is Puducherry Asking for a Separate High Court?

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Recently there has been a talks around which is gaining momentum regarding the status quo that the Puducherry parliament has regarding the institution of an independent High Court due to the increasing number of court cases in the Union Territory of Puducherry. 

The Union Territory of Puducherry currently comes under the jurisdiction of the Madras High Court.

Prior Instances of This Resolution

This is actually not the first time when such a decision has been taken by Puducherry. There has been previous instances when there has been resolutions in this particular regard.

In April 2017 the Bar Association of Puducherry passed the resolution to have an independent High Court institutionalized. Further in month of July the parliament in alignment with the bar association's resolution further took as unanimous decision to set up a High Court in Puducherry, which was later conveyed to the Madras High Court. However this resolution was rejected by the Madras High Court.

Further in August 2019, the Chief Minister of Puducherry V. Narayanasamy stated, “a Bench of the Madras High Court at Puducherry on the lines of the one set up in Madurai” was a felt need and sought the support of judges of the Supreme Court.

These instances give rise to the main question as to why has there been a need of an independent High Court in Puducherry when it is already stated in the constitution that more than one state or Union Territory can be clubbed with a single High Court i.e. in this case the Madras High Court?

Valid Reasons for This Resolution

Despite the constitutional provision that under the instance where more than one State or Union Territory share the same High Court, only the principal state of the High Court is supposed to pay the expenses from its State consolidated fund. However in the case of Puducherry this rule is not followed. Thus despite it's less population the Union Territory of Puducherry has to pay enormous amount of sums clubbed to the Madras High Court.

Apart from this reason there is another reason that the statistics of reported and solved cases in Puducherry is quite higher than the states and Union Territories that have almost the same figures in population and demographics. Thus there are many cases that needs a higher bench to decide the matters so that the pending cases be disposed off swiftly.

Even the Supreme court has recognized that die to the changing situations and paradigm shifts in the judicial system of India. The States and Union Territories need better governance and management in legal matters. This further gives rise to an immediate need for restructuring of the High Courts across India and further establishing more competent High courts in other Union Territories and States which requires such response.

This indeed is in lieu to the demand that Puducherry is making with regard to the institution of an independent High Court for a comprehensive and dynamic justice system.

Written by - Max Croson

Edited by - Arnav Mehra

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