National

Hyderabad High Court, packed with history and nostalgia, set for centenary celebrations

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on April 18, 2019

The historic building is a landmark on the Musi and completes 100 years tomorrow

The majestic High Court building on the banks of the Musi river is a symbol of everything that the Nizami city of Hyderabad is known for: Grace and elegance.

It is all set for its centenary celebrations on Saturday, with loads of history and nostalgia.

Built of pink granite and sandstone in the Mughal-Saracenic style, the century-old building is a landmark that arrests the view of locals and tourists alike as they cross the Musi.

Hyderabad, the seat of the Nizams who ruled one of the largest States, was a citadel of Islamic culture. The present-day Hyderabad has come a long way and is an icon of a cosmopolitan multi-cultural society. But the imposing domes of the High Court building on the skyline hark back to the city’s history.

Asaf Jah Bahadur, the Fifth Nizam of Hyderabad, entered into the Treaty on October 12, 1800 with the East India Company, extending the British rule to Hyderabad State. The administration was indirectly controlled by the British Resident posted at the Nizam’s Court.

Efficient judicial system

The High Court was initially located at Pathergatti and moved to several locations due to floods and epidemic.

The construction of the present High Court building was taken up in 1915. Engineer and architect Shankar Lal of Jaipur drew up the plan and Mehar Ali Fazal, a local engineer, executed the design.

Vincent J Esch, a British architect and engineer, provided valuable inputs. Construction of the building commenced on April 15, 1915 and completed on March 31, 1919. The construction cost about ₹18,22,750.

Spread over nine acres, the High Court building was inaugurated by Mir Osman Ali Khan, the Seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, on April 20, 1920. A model of the building, etched on a 300-kg silver sheet, was presented to the Nizam, and is now on display at the Purani Haveli Museum in Hyderabad.

An efficient judicial system was introduced in Hyderabad State by Sir Salar Jung, who was Prime Minister of Hyderabad State from 1853 to 1883. The Judges of the High Court then were appointed by a Firman or Hukum (Royal Order) of the Nizam on the recommendation of the Government. All the members of the Judiciary, including the High Court judges, were then governed by the Hyderabad Civil Services Rules.

During the 19th Century, several laws and statutes, on the lines of those in British India, came to be enacted in Hyderabad State also. In 1893, the Dastru-al-Amal was promulgated regulating the procedures of the High Court.

As tall as the building are the services its occupiers have provided with distinction to generations of people of Hyderabad State, then Andhra Pradesh, and now also of Telangana.

Published on April 18, 2019

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