Bombay High Court: In an interesting case, a bench comprising of A.S. Oka and A.S. Gadkari, dismissed a petition where the petitioner wanted the Court to decide the disputed question as to what was the surname of Rani Lakshmibai. In the present case, the petitioner, who claimed to be a freelance journalist and an author of a book on Rani Lakshmibai, contended that when Lakshmibai died her surname was Newalkar and that she was known as Mrs Lakshmibai Newalkar. He claimed that he had not seen or found any contemporaneous document which suggested that Rani Lakshmibai’s surname was Jhansiwale. However, it was true that her adopted son had to changed his surname from Newalkar to Jhansiwale post 1857. He further argued that the Pune Municipal Corporation had displayed her surname below her statue in Pune as “Jhansiwale”. The petitioner addressed an email to the Commissioner of Pune Municipal Corporation protesting against the change of her name to ‘Jhansewale” after her death which was presented before the Court.
The Pune Municipal Corporation had stated that they were in possession of no records except that the statue came in existence in 1957, therefore, the Corporation was submitting to the orders of this Court. The Court after listening to the arguments of the petitioner, observed that under Article 226 of the Constitution, it was not a fit case to go into the disputed questions of fact in relation to the issue of the correct surname of Rani Lakshmibai, as writ jurisdiction was not a proper remedy to decide the said issue. Declining to entertain the petition, the Court stated that other remedies, if any, available to the petitioner are kept open. Vivek Dilip Tambe vs. State of Maharashtra, 2014 SCC OnLine Bom 1668, decided on October 28, 2014