Karnataka High Court

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Karnataka High Court
High Court of Karnataka, Bangalore MMK.jpg
High Court Building
Established 1884
Country  India

Principle Seat: Bangalore, Karnataka

Circuit Benches: Dharwad & Gulbarga
Composition method Presidential with confirmation of Chief Justice of India and Governor of respective state.
Authorized by Constitution of India
Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court of India
Judge term length Till 62 years of age
No. of positions 62
Website karnatakajudiciary.kar.nic.in
Chief Justice
Currently Justice Dinesh Maheshwari
Since 12 February 2018

The Karnataka High Court is the High Court of the Indian state of Karnataka. It is located in Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka. The High Court functions out of a red brick building known as Attara Kacheri. It is in front of Vidhana Soudha, which is the seat of the legislature of Karnataka.The Karnataka High Court is currently functional in Bangalore, Hubli-Dharwad and Gulbarga.


The history of the Karnataka High Court can be traced back to the year 1884, under the reign of the Maharaja of Mysore Chamarajendra Wadiyar, when the Chief Court of Mysore was reconstituted with three judges and was designated as the highest court of appeal in the princely State of Mysore.

Earlier The Court of the Chief Judge, Mysore, was set up in 1880 along with three other courts - the Court of District judges, the Bangalore Court of Small Causes and subordinate and Munsiff courts. The Bangalore Small Causes Court was abolished in 1881.

In 1930, it was renamed as the High Court of Mysore and the Chief Judge was given the new name of Chief Justice. In 1973, it got its present name of "Karnataka High Court".

Constitution of the Chief Court[edit]

Subsequent to the passing of Regulation I of 1884, the Chief Court was reconstituted with a plurality of Judges, C. G. Plumer as Chief Judge, T. R. A. Thumboo Chetty and A. Ramachendra Iyer as Second and Third Judges, and section 11 of the said Regulation laid down the law in these terms :

" Where, in any suit or proceeding, it is necessary for the Chief Court to decide any question regarding succession, inheritance, marriage or caste or any religious usage or institution (a) the Muhammadan Law where the parties are Muhammadans, and the Hindu Law where the parties are Hindus ; or (b) any custom (if such there be) having the force of law and governing the parties or property concerned, shall form the rule of decision, unless such law or custom has, by legislative enactment, been altered or abolished ; (c) in cases where no specific rule exists, the Chief Court shall act according to justice, equity and good conscience."

First Indian Chief Judge of the Chief Court of Mysore[edit]

T. R. A. Thumboo Chetty First Indian Chief Judge of the Chief Court of Mysore. (1890-1895)

In March 1888 Plumer, having obtained a year's furlough and proceeded to England, T. R. A. Thumboo Chetty was appointed to officiate as Chief Judge and Inspector-General of Prisons. This was the first time when a Native officer was placed at the head of the Judicial and Jail Administration in Mysore. Both most important charges, always heretofore held by a European office. On the retirement of Plumer, in July 1890, Thumboo Chetty was appointed Chief Judge and ex-officio Inspector-General of Prisons, and, on his confirmation there was a general feeling of approbation from all classes of the people of the Province. Chetty occupied this important post until he was relieved of the Chief Judgeship on 4 November 1895.


Rear Side

The High Court is located in a building called as Attara Kacheri (meaning Eighteen offices). It is a two-storied building of stone and brick, painted red, in the Graeco-Roman style of architecture – a structure of vast expanse with Ionic porticoes at the center and at the two ends of the elevation. The construction of the building was supervised by Rao Bahadur Arcot Narayanaswami Mudaliar and completed in the year 1868. It was earlier named as Old Public Offices and got its name of Attara Kacheri when the eighteen departments in the general and revenue secretariat of the Mysore Government were shifted here from their crowded premises in Tipu Sultan's summer palace.Tipu's Palace was only a temporary house for the offices. When Bowring took over as Commissioner after Cubbon, he found the building unsuitable, both because of its state of maintenance as well as its limited accommodation which no longer sufficed for the much increased work of administering the State. It was he who conceived and prepared the plans for a full-fledged secretariat building in the city area. The construction was taken up in 1864 and completed at a cost of Rs. 4.5 lakhs in 1868.
There was a proposal to demolish this building in the year 1982.[1] However, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in order to save this old building from getting demolished. This was the first PIL to be filed in the Karnataka High court and the case was heard in the very building that was supposed to be demolished.[2] In August 1984, the judges M. N. Venkatachaliah and Vittal Rao pronounced a judgement that stayed the demolition.


Attara Katcheri, Bangalore (Early 1900s), Tucks Post Card

The High Court has a sanctioned judge strength of 62.[3] Many judges have presided in the High Court with four of them including E. S. Venkataramiah, M. N. Venkatachaliah, S. Rajendra Babu and H.L. Dattu, going on to become the Chief Justice of India[4] and others including Kalmanje Jagannatha Shetty, N. Venkatachala, R. V. Raveendran, Shivaraj Patil, Venkate Gopala Gowda, Mohan Shantanagoudar and S. Abdul Nazeer being appointed as judges in the Supreme Court of India.[5]

The Chief Justices[edit]

Raja Dharma Praveena Diwan Bahadur P Mahadevayya, M Sadasivayya, Nittoor Srinivasa Rau, Sam Piroj Bharucha and G. T. Nanavati were some of the famous Chief Justices who presided over this court. Presently, Dinesh Maheshwari is the Chief Justice at the court.

List of former Chief Justices[edit]

Chief Court of Mysore
Chief Judge Term
Charles George Plumer 1884 – July 1890
Sir T. R. A. Thumboo Chetty July 1890 – 4 November 1895
James William Best 4 November 1895–?
Stanley Ismay 1908–1912
P. Mahadevayya 1931–1934
High Court of Karnataka
# Chief Justice Term
1 R.Venkataramaiah 1 November 1956 – 16 July 1957
2 S. R. Das Gupta 25 July 1957 – 13 August 1961
3 Nittoor Srinivasa Rau 29 March 1962 – 7 August 1963
Acting H. Hombe Gowda 20 January 1964 – 1 August 1969
Acting A. R. Somanath Iyer 1 August 1969 – 30 August 1969
Acting M. Sadasivayya 31 August 1969 – 23 October 1969
Acting A. R. Somanath Iyer 24 October 1969 – 22 November 1969
4 A. R. Somanath Iyer 23 November 1969 – 29 December 1969
5 M. Sadasivayya 30 December 1969 – 16 September 1970
6 A. Narayana Pai 17 September 1970 – 6 June 1973
7 G. K. Govinda Bhat 7 June 1973 – 14 December 1977
8 D. M. Chandrashekar 22 March 1978 – 25 September 1982
Acting K. Bhimaiah 26 September 1982 – 27 October 1982
9 K. Bhimaiah 28 October 1982 – 10 April 1983
10 V. S. Malimath 6 February 1984 – 24 October 1985
Acting Kalmanje Jagannatha Shetty 24 October 1985 – 27 August 1986
11 Prem Chand Jain 28 August 1986 – 16 September 1989
12 S. Mohan 26 October 1989 – 7 October 1991
13 S. P. Bharucha 1 January 1991 – 30 June 1992
14 S. B. Majumdar 2 July 1993 – 13 September 1994
15 G. T. Nanavati 28 September 1994 – 4 March 1995
16 M. L. Pendse 28 July 1995 – 25 March 1996
17 S. A. Hakeem 3 May 1996 – 9 May 1996
18 R. P. Sethi 29 June 1996 – 6 January 1999
Acting Y. Bhaskar Rao 17 January 1999 – 8 March 1999
19 Y. Bhaskar Rao 9 March 1999 – 26 June 2000
20 P. V. Reddi 21 October 2000 – 16 August 2001
21 Nagendra Kumar Jain 31 August 2001 – 20 October 2004
22 N. K. Sodhi 19 November 2004 – 29 November 2005
23 Cyriac Joseph 7 January 2006 – 6 July 2008
24 P. D. Dinakaran 8 August 2008 – 7 August 2010
25 Jagdish Singh Khehar 8 August 2010 – 12 September 2011
26 Vikramajit Sen 24 December 2011 – 23 December 2012
Acting K Shridhar Rao
27 Dhirendra Hiralal Waghela March 2013 - 31 May 2015
28 Subhro Kamal Mukherjee 1 June 2015 – 9 October 2017
Acting H. G. Ramesh 10 October 2017 – 11 February 2018
30 Dinesh Maheshwari 12 February 2018 – present

Additional Benches[edit]

Karnataka High court bench in Gulbarga.

The Karnataka High Court is currently functional in Bangalore, Dharwad and Gulbarga. There was a long-standing demand for an additional bench: the location of Bangalore in south-east corner of the state caused hardship for people visiting the High Court from the distant northern regions of the state. This issue led to agitation, including boycott of court proceedings by lawyers in the northern region.The demand was finally met in the year 2006 when it was decided that circuit benches of the High Court would be set up in Dharwad and Gulbarga.[6] The new branches were inaugurated on 4 and 5 July 2008, respectively. There was later demand to make both Dharwad and Gulbarga benches permanent. Consequently, Dharwad circuit bench became a permanent bench from 25 August 2013 and Gulbarga circuit bench became a permanent bench from 31 August 2013.


In late 2002, 14 newspapers and periodicals reported that some judges from the High Court of Karnataka were allegedly involved in a sex scandal in Mysore. A high-level judicial inquiry committee was established by the Chief Justice. Later, the committee acquitted the judges as they could not find any substantive evidence.[7][8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "When the axe was spared". Online Edition of The Hindu, dated 2007-04-18. Chennai, India. 18 April 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
  2. ^ "The battle for Attara Kacheri". Online Edition of The Hindu, dated 2006-04-18. Chennai, India. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
  3. ^ N C Gundu Rao. "Systemic woes under penumbra". Online Edition of The Deccan Herald, dated 2004-10-12. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
  4. ^ "List of Judges of Karnataka who were appointed as Chief Justice of India". Online webpage of The High Court of Karnataka. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
  5. ^ "List of Judges of Karnataka who were appointed as judges in the Supreme Court of India". Online webpage of The High Court of Karnataka. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
  6. ^ "Contracts signed for circuit Bench buildings". Online Edition of The Hindu, dated 2006-08-05. Chennai, India. 5 August 2006. Retrieved 11 September 2007.
  7. ^ "Mysore sex scandal: Media faces contempt case". Times of India. India. 7 February 2003. Retrieved 7 February 2003.
  8. ^ "Contempt proceedings against scribes stayed". TribuneIndia. Retrieved 5 May 2003.
  9. ^ "Karnataka HC judges cleared in sex scandal". Rediff. Retrieved 2 February 2003.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 12°58′41″N 77°35′33″E / 12.97792°N 77.59257°E / 12.97792; 77.59257