Shiv Sena takes up Bombay HC renaming issue with Centre

After having renamed Bombay as Mumbai during its rule in Maharashtra between 1995-99, Shiv Sena, which is sharing power with BJP in both state and the Centre, is now vehemently pressing for its demand to rename the Bombay High Court. The saffron party wants the name Bombay dropped and replaced it with Mumbai.

Talking to PTI, Sena MP Arvind Sawant on Tuesday said he has spoken to Union Law Minister Sadananda Gowda regarding the renaming issue.

"Since the city is now known as Mumbai, we cannot continue to relate the government institutions with the old name," Sawant said, adding, "I will myself demand that all the government institutions like IIT-Bombay should also be addressed with Mumbai in it."

According to the Sena leader, Mumbai derived its name from Goddess Mumbadevi. "However, the name Bombay was coined by the British rulers as they could not pronounce Mumbai," he added.

The Sena's move has drawn flak from opposition Congress, as it said that the ruling party was deviating from development issues. "They have lost all focus. Before joining the government, they portrayed themselves as the messiah of farmers and wanted the BJP to stop their suicides and provide them with adequate compensation," Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said.

"Instead of throwing in their weight over this (renaming) issue, the state needs to do something to stop farmers' suicides and pay compensation to the affected farmers. That should be their focus. Wasting time on such issues is unwarranted at this point of time," Patil said.

Although NCP legislator Jitendra Awhad welcomed Sena's demand, he said the party was seeking to change the name only to win votes in the upcoming municipal polls.

"Sena's demand is not wrong. As the city's name has been changed to Mumbai, every institution which has a name of the metropolis, should be named similarly. You cannot continue with Bombay High court and IIT-Bombay," he said.

"They are desperately trying to gather their votes in the next couple of years as Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections are due. The Sena should also speak for the cause of farmers with the same aggression as they are showing for changing names," Awhad said.

The Bombay High Court was inaugurated on August 14, 1862. The High Court on Tuesday 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.

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