A bench comprising Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices S.A. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy, took up, through video conferencing, the plea filed by retired labour court judge V.P. Patil, arguing that "Maharashtra" has special significance for Maharashtrians. Therefore, replacing Bombay with Maharashtra would be an expression of cultural and right to heritage as protected under Articles 19, 21, 29 of the Constitution, it said.
"The cultural assertion of a Maharashtrian remains in jeopardy by not renaming a public institution like the High Court of Bombay, this court may uplift the socio, political and cultural rights of Maharashtrians as guaranteed by the Constitution," it argued.
The plea argued that having the same name for the High Court and the state would reduce the confusion that arises in multiplicity of names. As The High Court (Alternation of Names) Bill, 2016 was introduced in the Parliament for changing of the names of various High Courts in the country, the plea contended that "as per Article 214 of the Constitution, it is mandated that each state shall have a High Court of its own a several states in the country have High Courts named after the state and the state of Maharashtra is denied the same".
The petitioner claimed that the expression of regional and geographical identity forms part of freedom of speech and expression, as guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution, and thus expression of the word Maharashtra while referring to the High Court pertaining to the state amounts to a fundamental right.