Court appeal

Aug 31, 2012, 07:56 IST | Ruchika Kher

To celebrate its 150th year, the Bombay High Court is hosting an exhibition of old legal papers, pictures and rare memorabilia to showcase its rich legacy

Have you been fascinated by the Victorian-inspired Bombay High Court, designed by Colonel James A Fuller? Here’s your chance to trace its history. To mark the sesquicentennial celebrations of the Bombay High Court, an exhibition of legal documents belonging to its early days, along with numerous items are available for public viewing.

“The idea of an exhibition like this was floated by the chief justice of the court along with other senior judges and everyone felt that this would be a good thing,” says Sunil Shukre, Registrar General of the Bombay High Court.

Visitors at the Bombay High Court Exhibition

The exhibition has been organised at court’s Central Hall, which is a magnificent room, complete with a beautiful chandelier and a high ceiling. The structure and its interiors are awe-inspiring. On display are court fee stamps and lease deeds drafted during the pre-independence era.

One of the most significant documents on display is a letter from 1923, because of which Mahatma Gandhi was deleted from the advocates’ roll. His license to practice in the court had been cancelled after he was convicted for sedition for his articles written in Young India, a weekly journal published in English by Mahatma Gandhi from 1919 to 1932.

Other exhibits include a jury box, an ornate cupboard, usually placed in the judge’s chambers, justice’s wig and ceremonial judge outfits and mace, and a large selection of postcards of a sepia-toned Mumbai. Another attraction is an over 100-year-old typewriter, which was one of the first typewriters in the Bombay High Court’s history.

One can also see the letter that Lokmanya Tilak wrote in 1916 regarding the evidence in the Nashik Conspiracy case. It hangs in a beautiful frame near the one that carries Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s application letter for the post of a barrister.
“It’s great to host such exhibitions as people can learn about the High Court’s history. Every day, at least 6,000 visitors drop by,” informs Shukre.

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