NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Wednesday asked the Centre, Maharashtra government and others to respond to a plea which has sought directions to rename the Bombay High Court as the High Court of Maharashtra. A bench headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, hearing the matter through video-conferencing, issued notices to the Centre, governments of Maharashtra and Goa and Registrar General of the Bombay High Court seeking their responses on the petition filed by a former labour court judge.

The plea, filed by Thane-based V P Patil who had served as a judge for 26 years, has also sought a direction to the authorities to take effective steps for implementation of a clause of the Maharashtra Adaptation of Laws (State and Concurrent Subjects) Order, 1960 for conservation and preservation of distinct culture, heritage and traditions of the people of Maharashtra.

Patil said the concerned authorities in other states should also be directed to change the names of their high courts as per the name of the states where they are located.

“This court ought to consider that expression of regional and geographical identity forms part of freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution of India and thus expression of the word Maharashtra while referring to the high court pertaining to the state amounts to fundamental right of the petitioner,” it said.

It said that assertion of word ‘Maharashtra’ denotes special significance in the life of Maharashtrian and its usage must also find expression in the name of the high court.

The plea said that nomenclature of a public institution is “part of right to autonomy of a Maratha/ Maharashtrian.”

“As per Article 214 of the Constitution of India, it is mandated that each state shall have a high court of its own. It is humbly submitted that several states in the country have high courts named after the state and the state of Maharashtra is being denied the same,” the plea said.

It said that same name of the high court as well as the state will lessen the confusion that arises in multiplicity of names and will be in the interest of public.

“This court ought to have appreciate that it is the duty of Union of India to take all measures for protection of the rights of the people of the state of Maharashtra who wish to assert their identity in the name of the public institution of their state,” it said.

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