Bill planned to rename Madras, Bombay high courts

New Delhi: The iconic high courts of Bombay and Madras may soon undergo a change in their nomenclature. Amid demands, the Centre is mulling changing the names of the two high courts through an Act of Parliament.

The Law Ministry has started working on a bill to rename Bombay and Madras high courts to correspond to the present names of the cities. There have been demands to rename the high courts as Mumbai High Court and Chennai High Court after the metros were rechristened in the 1990s.

The proposal of the Department of Justice in the Law Ministry is to bring a bill to rename the two high courts established in the 1860s under the Indian High Court Act, 1861.

The 'Indian High Court Act' of 1861, vested in the Queen of England to issue letters patent to establish high courts of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay.

The Bombay High Court was inaugurated on August 14, 1862. The high court today has three benches at Nagpur, Aurangabad and Goa. Bombay HC is one of a few institutions in Maharashtra that continue to carry the old name of the city.

The state government renamed Bombay as Mumbai in 1995 and all institutions under it altered names accordingly. The Madras High Court, which came into being around the same time, as one bench in Madurai.

Besides demands from the Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu governments, various organisations too have been pressing for renaming the two high courts. There have also been demands to rename the Calcutta High Court as Kolkata High Court.

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.

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