On This Day in History! August 14, 1862 – Bombay High Court was established 

On this day, August 14, in the year 1862, Bombay High Court was inaugurated under the High Courts Act of 1861. British engineer Colonel James A. Fuller was the man behind its design and the first case was heard on 10 January 1879.

Bombay High Court is a fine example of Gothic revival architecture of British. It is 171-metre long and 57-metre wide. There are two octagonal towers to the west of the building. At the top of the building, statues of Justice and Mercy are located. The construction of 80,000 square feet took six years to complete. The first Chief Justice, the Attorney General and Solicitor General of Independent India were from this court. The Court has a sanctioned strength of 94 judges, which include 71 permanent and 23 additional ones.

The first Indian permanent Chief Justice of Bombay High Court was Justice M. C. Chagla, who held the post from 1948 to 1958. Some of the famous cases of the Bombay High Court include Emperor v. Bal Gangadhar Tilak case of 1916, in which Indian freedom fighter Tilak was charged with sedition charges.  The Bombay High Court also saw the last case to use a jury system, which was famous K. M. Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra case of 1959.

A book titled “The Bombay High Court: The Story of the Building, 1878-2003” was released on the 125th anniversary of the building. Although Bombay’s name was changed to Mumbai in 1995, the court as an institution did not follow the suit and retained Bombay High Court. A bill was approved by the cabinet on July 5, 2016 to rename it as Mumbai High Court, but it is still pending before the Parliament.

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