Mumbai, Feb 14: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a Permanent Judicial Museum at Bombay High Court here Saturday, set up as part of its Sesquicentennial Celebrations depicting the rich judicial history of the city spanning three centuries.
The first court held here was the Mayor's Court (1726-1798), followed by the Recorder's Court which functioned till 1824. It made way for the Supreme Court of Bombay, 1824-1862, which later turned into the Bombay High Court in 1862, and continues till date.
The museum exhibits include a high-back ornate chair used by the judges during the British rule, original candle stands with engraved glass casing, gas-lit glass 'handis' and a large manual cloth ceiling fan pulled by attendants, all part of the pre-electricity era, and an actual court-room of the 1900s when electricity and manual typewriters were introduced.
The brainchild of Chief Justice Mohit Shah, who approved it one year back, it was implemented by lawyer Rajan Jayakar after months of hard labour.
The highlights include a rare original copy of the High Court Charter, 1872, a cannon dating back to 1850 with an original stand, discarded after the old Bombay Fort was demolished in 1864, though the name 'Fort' still stands for south Mumbai today.
It showcases the Barrister Certificates issued to Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in 1891 - who was later revered as Mahatma Gandhi by the world, Mohammed Ali Jinnah's issued in 1896, before he entered history as founder of Pakistan, besides other luminaries like M. C. Chagla, the first Chief Justice of India, Babasaheb R. Ambedkar, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, K. M. Munshi and others.
The other attractions are an original wig, a silver mace, inkpots, paperweights, original roll of the attorney's enrolments since 1924, bearing the name and signature of the late Nani Palkhivala when he joined as a young lawyer in 1944, and other interesting judicial paraphernalia.
The museum displays the rich history of the high court spanning over three centuries; there are old rare photographs of some prominent Victorian era buildings in Mumbai built after 1865, including the last constructed in 1904, which still stands as the ENT Hospital in south Mumbai.
Modi, accompanied by Governor C. V. Rao, Union Law Minister Sadananda Gowda, Chief Justice Mohit Shah, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and others went around the museum hall and viewed the exhibits with keen interest.