The Bombay High Court exercises jurisdiction over the Maharashtra and Goa states, as well as the union territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. The High Court, which is one of India’s oldest High Courts, is seated in Mumbai, the most important city in India and the country’s center of trade, economy and politics. The city is also home to two lower courts — the Sessions Court for criminal cases and Small Causes Court for civil cases. The city also has a special court for people suspected of terrorism activities.
The High Court has benches in Panaji, Aurangabad and Nagpur, with over 90,000 advocates listed in the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa states. Nagpur is the second most important city in Maharashtra. The High Court was first established in the industrial city of Nagpur in 1936. After Maharashtra was formed as a state in 1960, the court was moved to Mumbai, the state capital, and the Nagpur court was included as a separate bench.
In 1937, before the formation of the state, the Madras High Court building was constructed in Nagpur. The beautiful two-story building had a garden courtyard in the center, gardens on both its western and eastern sides, and a main central dome that is 109 feet tall. The landmark structure officially opened on January 6, 1940. The High Court of Nagpur was located here until 1956. After that year, the emergence of the Madhya Pradesh High Court succeeded the High Court of Nagpur.
With four honorable judges, the High Court bench of Bombay moved to this building in 1956, and has continued to occupy it until today. The High Court building was renovated to include two annex buildings, the North and South Wings. The North Wing contains several court halls, library, judges’ offices, and the Chambers of the Hobble Judges, while the South Wing contains public utilities. Today, the High Court has 10 honorable judges, and 412 employees.
Another bench is the Aurangabad Bench, which was relatively established quite recently in 1982. This branch has more than 13 judges and with jurisdiction over Aurangabad, Ahmednagar, Beed, Dhule, Jalna, Jalgaon, Latur, Osmanabad and Latur. This bench is seated in a beautiful structure with a lush inviting garden, 13 court halls on the first floor, and the registry of Court on the ground floor. With 15 honorable judges, the Aurangabad bench turned 27 in August 2009.
Mumbai is a fast growing metropolis and its courts of law are necessary since the city is home to a variety of religions, castes, races, sects, and nationalities. Social and criminal tensions are bound to arise with so much diversity in one city. Mumbai is also the most populous city in India with about 21 million people. This highly urbanized city is home to India’s rich and famous as well as the poorest. It is home to the posh Bollywood Film City and the world’s largest slum area at the same time. The economic, political and judicial activities in Mumbai represent what’s going on all over India, which means Bombay High Court is justifiably located in this prime city.