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Year Book 2012
High Court Chandigarh
High Court Chandigarh
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Building and Architecture

Designed by Le Corbusier, a French Architect, the High Court has got a beautiful building. Apart from the Court rooms, it houses the Offices of many Administrative Branches such as Registrar's Office, Establishment Branch, Gazette Branch and Copying Branch etc. The Offices of Advocate-Generals, Punjab and Haryana also adjoin the main building.

High Court Le Corbusier
An undated photograph of High Court of Punjab and Haryana and Le Corbusier.

The High Court is a linear block with the main facade toward the piazza. It has a rhythmic arcade created by a parasol-like roof, which shades the entire building. Keeping in view the special dignity of the judges, Le Corbusier created a special entrance for them through a high portico resting on three giant pylons painted in bright colours.Very much in the tradition of the Buland Darwaza of Fatehpur-Sikri, this grand entrance with its awesome scale, is intended to manifest the Majesty of the Law to all who enter. Juxtaposed between the main courtroom of the Chief Justice and eight smaller courts, is a great entrance hall. Its scale--especially the height -- is experienced most intensely while walking up the ramp. The symbolism of providing an "umbrella of shelter" of law to the ordinary citizen is most vividly manifested here. The continuity of the concrete piazza running into this space establishes a unique site and structural unity of the structure with the ground plane.The massive concrete pylons representing again the "Majesty of Law" are painted in bright primary colours and visually punctuate the otherwise rhythmic facade of the High Court. The rear side of this ceremonial entrance for the judges is a working entrance and a large car park at a sunken level. The massive piers and the blank end walls have interesting cut-outs and niches, to establish a playful connection with the human scale.

Le  Corbusier with Shri Nehru
Le Corbusier with Shri Nehru

Each courtroom was provided with an independent entrance from the piazza-and the gracefully curving overarching profile of the brise-soleil screen was intended to provide the symbolic protection. However, this "metaphor" of protection proved highly non-functional against intense summer heat and the monsoon rains - thus requiring a single-storeyed continuous verandah running in front of them as a later addition. Space for archives and library also proved insufficient, even after the open terraces of the library had been taken over, so Le Corbusier agreed to design an unobtrusive, expandable annex to the north. The judges declined to share the car entrance with the public so now the esplanade, where the pedestrian was to reign, is a motorway enabling the judges to drive right into the entrance hall.

 

 

Tapestries

Colourful tapestries, one to each courtroom, cover the entire rear wall -- 12 metres square in the main courtroom and 8 metres square for the smaller courtrooms. A number of symbols that encapsulated Le Corbusier's view of man, earth, nature, the emblems of India and the scales of justice were depicted in abstract, geometric patches. They were also required for acoustical reasons.

Tapestry by Le Corbusier in Court Room 1 Chandigarh
Design Sketch of Tapestry by Le Corbusier

These tapestry designs referred to the architectural plan, in particular Le Corbusier's exaltation of the right angle asbasic element of architecture, and of order generally. The designs are based on Le Corbusier's Modular, which he used to organise the entire Capitol Complex and give dimensions to all its buildings. He described the Modular as "a modest servant offered by mathematics to people desirous of harmony, a universal tool for all kinds of fabrications destined to be sent to all parts of the world. Furthermore, it solves by the decimal system the inextricable manipulation of the inch-foot system, an ancestral and totally respectable measure. The Modular is based on human height ... it places man at the centre of the drama, its solar plexus being the key to the three measures, which express the occupation of space by its members."

The High Court was the first building to be made wholly of concrete. A sum of Rs 40 lacs was spent on its construction. The commendable success for the completion of the building by the target date was entirely due to the able administration of Sh P L Verma, Chief High Court building under construction Engineer and Secretary Capital Project and his assistantMr R C Singh, Executive Engineer. The construction of this unique building, which opened a new phase for concrete construction, was done by Messrs Hindustan Construction Corporation Ltd. Bombay under the supervision of Sh K C Iyya. It is one of the most beautiful High Courts in India with 40 spacious and luxuriously furnished courtrooms; 3 Bar rooms; a well-equipped Judges' library, a dispensary and a very good canteen. Its location in the lap of Himalayas beyond the limits of the city, beside Assembly Hall and Sukhna Lake adds to its beauty.

 

Emblem High Court Punjab and Haryana
Emblem of High Court Punjab and Haryana

There is displayed a 'Balance', facing upward, outside Court Room No.1. This has been adopted as the Emblem of the High Court.This emblem was designed by Le-Corbusier. About this Emblem, Le-Corbusier said, "It is not the balance with two equal weights but one which is counter balanced in the complexities of the determinant factors: the length of the lever arms and the different weights which they support.

Judicial Academy Chandigarh
Judicial Academy located at Sector 43, Chandigarh

The High Court has also got a beautiful guest house situated at Chandigarh Judical Academy, Sector-43, Chandigarh, where visiting Judges of other High Courts can stay. Subject to the availability of accommodation, the guest house can also be used by the Judicial Officers, while on official duty.