There are 18 High Courts in India, but the question is, which is the 13th? Listed in alphabetical order, the Kerala High Court, at No 14, misses the halloweened slot by a whisker. It must feel quite lucky, going by the triskaidekaphobia that it exhibited while numbering its courtrooms — the subject of a petition being heard by the Supreme Court of India. Of course, the High Court’s behaviour in perpetuating such numerical differences and inequity has been nothing short of disgraceful.
The number 13 has long suffered from social discrimination and ostracisation. Some say it became the unlucky scapegoat of Judas’ betrayal of Jesus at the last supper of the Gang of 13. Whatever be the origins, and despite numerous free thinking campaigns over the years, No. 13 continues to remain a social outcast even in the 21st century — especially if it makes an appearance on a Friday. Funnily enough, its telltale shadow falls even in non-Western countries like ours. Five-star hotels refuse to have Room No. 13s, films with No. 13 as the subject continue to perpetuate stereotypes. And now, even a court of law has treated it as an untouchable.
In Kerala High Court vs Unlucky No 13, the Supreme Court must condemn its subordinate court in the strongest terms. Perhaps, the government may also consider deploying a team of Black Cat commandos to cross the path of anyone who treats No 13 in such a deplorable manner.