Gauhati High Court, Guwahati
Article 214 of the Constitution of India reads as follows:
” 214. High Courts for States:- There shall be a High Court for each State. ”
The High Court is a Constitutional Court in terms of Article 215. It is a Court of record and has all the powers of such Court including the power to punish for Contempt of itself and for Contempt of Courts Subordinate to it. Every High Court consist of a Chief Justice and such other Judges as the President of India from time to time deem it necessary.
At present, the sanctioned Judge strength of the Gauhati High Court is 24 including the Hon’ble Chief Justice and 6 Additional Judges. Every Judge including the Chief Justice is appointed by the President of India by warrant under his hand and seal. Every permanent Judge continues in office until he attains the age of 62 years. The Additional Judges are appointed for a period not exceeding two years taking into account the temporary increase in the business or arrears of work of the High Court. Such Judges shall also not hold office after attaining the age of 62 years.
Chief Justice (Acting)
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice N. Kotiswar Singh
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Manash Ranjan Pathak
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Manojit Bhuyan
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Michael Zothankhuma
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Suman Shyam
The Hon’ble Mrs. Justice Rumi Kumari Phukan
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Songkhupchung Serto
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Achintya Malla Bujor Barua
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Kalyan Rai Surana
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Prasanta Kumar Deka
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Nelson Sailo
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ajit Borthakur
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Hitesh Kumar Sarma
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Mir Alfaz Ali
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sanjay Kumar Medhi
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Nani Tagia
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Manish Choudhury
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Soumitra Saikia
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice Parthivjyoti Saikia
The Hon’ble Mr. Justice S. Hukato Swu
Under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, the High Court has power in relation to its territorial jurisdiction to issue directions, orders and writs including writs in the nature of Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Quowarranto and Certiorari for enforcement of the fundamental rights conferred by Part- III of the Constitution of India or for any other purpose.
The High Court also has the power of superintendence over all Courts and Tribunals throughout the territory in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction under Article 227 of the Constitution of India. The Gauhati High Court Rules regulate the business and exercise of the powers of the Gauhati High Court.
The High Court has original, appellate as well as revisional jurisdiction in both Civil as well as Criminal matters apart from the power to answer references under certain statures. The Gauhati High Court transacts its business during its working days from 10.30 AM to 1.15 PM during the 1st Session and from 2.00 PM to 4.15 PM in the 2nd Session. The Honble the Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court constitutes the Single, Division and Full Benches and a daily cause list showing the cases listed before the Benches is notified by the Registry of the High Court.
The Gauhati High Court as of today emerged from the High Court of Assam. On 9th September, 1947, the Assam Legislative Assembly adopted a resolution that a High Court be established for the Province of Assam. In exercise of power conferred by sub-section (1) of section 229 of the Government of India Act, 1935, as adopted by the Indian Provincial Constitution (Amendment) Order, 1948, the Governor General of India was pleased to promulgate on 1st March, 1948 the Assam High Court Order, 1948, establishing the High Court of Assam with effect from 5th April, 1948, for the then Province of Assam.
Sir Harilal Kania, the then Chief Justice of India came to preside over the inauguration of the High Court at the invitation of His Excellency the Governor of Assam Sir Akbar Hydari and the Premier of the Province Late Gopinath Bardoloi. Sir R.F. Lodge was sworn in as the first Chief Justice of Assam High Court on 5th April, 1948. The Assam High Court initially had its sittings at Shillong but shifted to Gauhati from 14th August, 1948. Later on, the Assam High Court came to be known as the High Court of Assam and Nagaland on the constitution of State of Nagaland with effect from 1st December, 1963. On re-organization of the North-Eastern region by the North Eastern Area (Re-organization) Act, 1971, a common High Court was established for the five North-Eastern States Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura ) and the two Union Territories ( Union Territory of Mizoram and the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh) and called as the Gauhati High Court.
With the enactment of the State of Mizoram Act, 1986 ( Act 34 of 1986 ) and the State of Arunachal Pradesh Act, 1986 ( Act 69 of 1986), the States of Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh attained statehood on 20.2.1987. By the State of Mizoram Act, 1986, from the appointed day, common High Court for the States of Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram called the High Court of Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram came into being. Under the State of Arunachal Pradesh Act, 1986, from the appointed day, ie, 20.2.1987, a common High Court for the State of Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh came into being.
The Principal Seat of the Gauhati High Court is at Guwahati, Assam. Apart from the Principal Seat, the High Court has 3(three) outlying Benches, viz, Kohima Bench for the State of Nagaland (established on 1.12.1972), Aizawl Bench for the State of Mizoram (established on 5.7.90) and Itanagar Bench for the State of Arunachal Pradesh (established on 12.8.2000). The Gauhati High Court occupied a unique position of being a common High Court of seven States of North East India, till 23.03.2013, the date of functioning of separate High Courts in Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura.
The Gauhati High Court administers Justice in an area having enormous variations. Geographically, it is an assortment of hills and valleys. Ethnically, it is an extraordinary mosaic. The legal and judicial scenario is more varied. Divergent laws govern the people of the region. The indigenous inhabitants of the hill areas are primarily adapted to the conciliatory process rather than adversary system. Some of the customary practices for settlement of disputes practiced in this area are not only expeditious and lasting, but far more efficacious than the system followed in the supposedly advanced areas. The laws applicable to different areas may vary, but the entire area is administered by a common High Court. The High Court is a unique one, whereby a single institution exercises jurisdiction throughout the entire North East region. When the Constitution of India came into force under the provisions of sixth Schedule to the Constitution, District Council Courts were established in the Tribal Areas and as a result the jurisdiction of the Assam High Court was extended to the Tribal Area vide Assam High Court (Jurisdiction over District Council Courts) Order 1954.