The Himachal Pradesh High Court is the High Court of the state of Himachal Pradesh. The seat of the court is Shimla, the administrative capital of the state. The court has a sanctioned judge strength of 9 including the chief justice.
Precisely, the former Princely States had different systems of Administration and set of laws and in most of the Princely States, the administration was run on the whims of the Rulers or Wazirs and their words were considered to be the law. The Himachal Pradesh was born as a result of integration of 26 Shimla and four Punjab hill States into a Centrally Administered Area on April 15,1948. On 1st April, 1954 the parts of Bilaspur were also merged with Himachal Pradesh having its Headquarters at Shimla. The head was the Chief Commissioner. The first Chief Commissioner was Mr. N. C. Mehta and he was assisted by his deputy Mr. E. Penderal Moon, ICS. On September 30, 1948, an advisory council was formed for the advice of the Chief Commissioner for administrative functions.
The Central Government promulgated the Himachal Pradesh (Courts) Order, 1948 on 15th August, 1948. As per Paragraph 3 of this Order, the Court of Judicial Commissioner was established for Himachal Pradesh and the Court was housed at "Harvingtan" (Kelston area, Bharari, Shimla). It was vested with the powers of a High Court under the Judicial Commissioner's Court Act, 1950 besides the Court of Judicial Commissioner, two Courts of District and Sessions Judges and 27 subordinate Courts. The Court of Judicial commissioner started functioning on August 15, 1948 and in the same year, two Courts of District and Sessions Judges were also established. The Punjab High Court rules and orders with suitable amendments were made applicable. On April 29, 1967 two more District and Sessions Judges Courts, one for Shimla and other for Kangra were established.
However in the year 1966, the Delhi High Court Act was enacted by the Government of India and w.e.f. May 1, 1967, the Central Government of India extended jurisdiction of the said Act to the Union Territory of Himachal Pradesh, replacing the Court of Judicial Commissioner by the Himachal Bench of Delhi High Court, at Shimla and it started functioning in old High Court building known as "Revenswood". The Court of Judicial commissioner stood abolished with effect from 1st May, 1967 and instead the jurisdiction of the High Court of Delhi was extended to Union Territory of Himachal Pradesh under the Delhi High Court Act, 1966. At that time, Hon'ble Mr. Justice K. S. Hegde was the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court. Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. K. Kapoor and Hon'ble Mr. Justice Hardayal Hardy constituted the first circuit bench of the Delhi High Court which held Court at Shimla in the building "Ravenswood".
Hon'ble Mr. Justice R. S. Pathak, Hon'ble Mr. Justice T. U. Mehta, Hon'ble Mr. Justice V. D. Misra, Hon'ble Mr. Justice P. D. Desai, Hon'ble Mr. Justice P. C. B. Menon, Hon'ble Mr. Justice N. M. Kasliwal, Hon'ble Ms. Justice Leila Seth, Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. K. Seth, Hon'ble Mr. Justice V. Ratnam, Hon'ble Mr. Justice G. C. Gupta, Hon'ble Mr. Justice S. N. Phukan, Hon’ble Mr. Justice M. Srinivasan, Hon’ble Mr Justice M. N. Rao, Hon’ble Mr. Justice D. Raju, Hon’ble Mr. Justice C. K. Thakker and Hon'ble Mr. Justice W.A. Shishak were the other illustrious and eminent jurists who adorned the office of Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court and have left a distinct mark of their personalities on the working of the High Court. Hon'ble Mr. Justice M. H. Beg, Hon'ble Mr. Justice R. S. Pathak and Hon'ble Mr. Justice N. M. Kasliwal, Hon'ble Mr. Justice M. Srinivasan and Hon'ble Mr. Justice D. Raju were elevated to the Apex Court. Hon'ble Mr. Justice M. H. Beg and Hon'ble Mr. Justice R. S. Pathak had the distinction of becoming Chief Justices of the Supreme Court of India. Hon’ble Mr. Justice R. S. Pathak also remained a Judge of International Court of Justice at Hague. Thus, though small, this High Court has a pride of place in this behalf. Now the strength of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh is Eleven including the Chief Justice.