Just 4 years after India’s First War of Independence in 1857, the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed an act authorizing the British Crown to create High Courts in the Indian colony. As a move to consolidate the legal system of the Crown and the British East India Company, it helped establish the precursors to what would become the High Courts in modern day India.
On 14 August 1862, the Bombay High Court was inaugurated. Despite having overseen legal battles for over 80 years during the British Raj, the Bombay High Court has an obscure history as very little is known of regarding how it functioned during the colonial era. Earlier this month, an important treatise on this very topic was released. On 18th June, Dr. Abhinav Chandrachud, a practising advocate at the Bombay High Court, released his second book – “An Independent, Colonial Judiciary — A history of the Bombay High Court during the British Raj 1862-1947”.
Putting together the lives of judges during the colonial period, Dr. Chandrachud constructs the history of the Bombay High Court in this book. The book examines the lives of the 83 judges, both British and Indian, who served on the Bombay High Court during the colonial era and explores the courts colonial past. The book’s focus is on unravelling the complex changes that occurred in Indian society, the legal profession, the law and legal culture during the colonial era.
The book attempts to comprehend why British colonial institutions like the Bombay High Court flourished even after India became independent.
Dr Chandrachud, an alumnus of the Harvard Law School, has a doctorate in the science of law from the Stanford Law School. His latest book is the doctoral thesis he submitted at the Stanford Law School. His first book is titled ‘The Informal Constitution: Unwritten Criteria in Selecting Judges for the Supreme Court of India’. As the next generation of advocates in his family, Dr. Abhinav Chandrachud is the son of Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Dr Dhananjay Chandrachud and grandson of former Chief Justice of India Y V Chandrachud.