Calcutta High Court
The Calcutta High Court the oldest High Court in India. It was established as the High Court of Judicature at Fort William on 1 July 1862 under the High Courts Act, 1861. It has jurisdiction over the state of West Bengal and the Union Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It was preceded by the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William. The High Court building is an exact replica of the Cloth Hall, Ypres, in Belgium. . It is recorded that when the original Cloth Hall burnt down, a blue print of Granville’s Calcutta High Court had to be consulted before rebuilding it.
The court has a sanctioned judge strength of 63. Despite the name of the city having officially changed from Calcutta to Kolkata in 2001, the old name is retained by the court as it is an institution.
Principal seat and Benches
The seat of the Calcutta High Court is at Kolkata, capital of West Bengal. As per the Calcutta High Court (Extension of Jurisdiction) Act, 1953, the Calcutta High Court’s jurisdiction was extended to cover Chandernagore (now called Chandannagar) and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as of 2 May 1950. The Calcutta High Court extended its Circuit Bench in Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The neo-Gothic High Court building was constructed in 1872, ten years after the establishment of the court itself. The design, by then government architect Walter Granville, was loosely modelled on the 13th-century Cloth Hall at Ypres, Belgium.
The current Chief Justice is Mrs. Manjula Chellur. Sir Barnes Peacock was the first Chief Justice of the High Court. He assumed the charge when the court was founded on 1 July 1862. Romesh Chandra Mitter was the first Indian officiating Chief Justice and Phani Bhushan Chakravartti was the first Indian permanent Chief Justice of the court. The longest serving Chief Justice was Sankar Prasad Mitra.