Bombay High Court Judges' Library

HIGH COURT BUILDING AT BOMBAY

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The High Court started functioning in a building in Apollo Street called the Admiralty House after its establishment in 1862.  The Recorder's Court and the Supreme Court held their sitting in this building.

The work on the present building of the High Court was commenced in April 1871 and completed in November 1878 and is situated between the University Building and the Public Works Secretariat and is 562 feet in length by 187 feet in breadth.  Its general height to the east is 90 feet, and the Central feature is 178 1/2 feet in height.  The building, which is early English-Gothic, designed by Colonel J.A. Fuller, R.E. was completed at a cost of Rs. 16,44,528 that was about Rs. 3000 less then the sanction estimate.  The walls are made of rubble and chunam faced with blue basalt roughly dressed and in shallow causes.

There are two life-size statues on the battlement on the western from of the High Court building.  First is the symbol of Justice, the stone statue of the Goddess of Justice holding the Sword of Justice in one hand and the Scales on the other.  The second is the statutes of Goddess of Mercy with hand folded.

Some unobserved architectural features of the present building lie in certain sculptures in odd nooks and corners of the walls and ceiling on the western corridor, which display sundry heads of wolves and foxes with counsel's bands round their necks.  An outstanding performance of a sculptor is on the first & second floor depicting a monkey-judge (presumably suggested by Aesop's fable of the judicial monkey and the two litigious cats) with one eye bandaged and holding unevenly the scales of justice.  There is a tale behind this sculpture.  The story is that there was a dispute between the European building Contractor and the Indian Subcontractor.  The Latter sued and lost.  The disgruntled suitor avenged himself upon Law and Justice (both Counsel and Judge) in stone and plaster in the manner mentioned above as some final additions were remaining.

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