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JUSTICE CHANDRU — MAY YOUR TRIBE INCREASE

No deities - No flowers, No one is hungry - No fruits, No one is shivering - No shawls
Justice Chandru created a record of sorts even on his last day as judge of the Madras High Court. He came to the High Court in the morning in his official car to attend his last day of work on 8 April. After reaching the High Court, he handed over the keys of the car to the Registry. He submitted the statement of his assets, as of March 8, to the Chief Justice of the High Court. He was the first judge in the Madras High Court to submit his statement of assets in 2009.

Breaking a century-old tradition, he had already requested the chief justice that he wants no official farewell function. So after completing his work that day, Justice Chandru went around the court premises and met companion judges, staff members and others, who bade farewell to him. A rousing farewell was accorded to Justice Chandru, who was clad in a simple slack shirt and dhoti. Later he walked straight to the Beach Station, where he boarded an MRTS train to reach home.

Justice Chandru being greeted by court staff & lawyers on his last day in court

Delivery of speedy justice is the need of the hour to strengthen the belief of the people in the judiciary, said Justice Chandru who had settled more than 96,000 cases in less than seven years.

The first thing he did after becoming a judge was to do away with the red-capped mace-bearer, who could be seen on the portals accompanying judges to their courts and chambers.

He also found a sub-inspector-ranked personal security officer assigned to him redundant, and promptly discontinued that practice as well.

His landmark judgments were the ones providing succour to 22,000 noon meal workers, upholding appointment of women priests in temples and the one relating to abolition of separate crematoriums on the basis of caste.

Unlike other retired judges, Justice Chandru will not practise advocate profession either in the Supreme Court or other high courts. He had already rejected offers to head certain tribunals and would engage in social service.

Here was a Judge who did not want the red capped, silver mace bearing “Dawali” to announce his arrival - which was seen as a symbol of Power and Authority; he did not want red beacon in his car; he  surrendered a sub-inspector ranked personal security guard; he did not want to be addressed as “My Lord” in courts; he did  not accept  any post retirement jobs such as membership of tribunals and commissions etc.; he was the first judge to declare his assets to Chief Justice and on the day of retirement once again declared his assets to the Chief Justice; at the entrance of his official chamber, a notice was seen “No deities - No flowers, No one is hungry - No fruits, No one is shivering - No shawls."

Some of his landmark judgements are:

  • Women can become priests in temples
  • there should be common Burial ground irrespective of caste
  • For staging plays, police permission not required
  • there should be community-based reservation in noon meal centres.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 1-15 May 2013 on page no. 12

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