The impropriety in Your Lordship sitting with the same judge since day one of assuming office as CJ of the Kerala High Court.


Hon’ble Mr. Justice Manikumar,
Chief Justice of the High Court of Kerala

May it please your Lordship,

*Sub: The impropriety in Your Lordship sitting with the same judge since day one of assuming office as CJ of the Kerala High Court*.

I thought of addressing your Lordship on the instant subject many times, but hesitated because it may not be taken in the right spirit. Since I know, fairly closely, certain former judges of the High Court of Tamil Nadu who are now practicing in the Supreme Court, I initially felt it would be better to convey my message through them. Accordingly, when I came across someone who was a former judge of the Madras High Court, I told him that whenever I go to the Kerala High Court, the lawyers there have brought this issue to my notice and requested me to take up the issue. For a moment I thought of meeting your Lordship in chambers to bring the concern of the Bar to your Lordship’s notice.

I must say, in all humility, that wherever I go, lawyers bring to my notice many issues concerning the bar and public at large of great import. I consider restraint to be a great virtue. And I think many a times before taking up any issue.

It is often said that there cannot be a smoke without a fire. For me the Kerala High Court is my alma mater. I may be a little away now, but the affairs of the Kerala High Court will always be close to my heart. When I joined the Bar, I was so proud of the independence and fearlessness lawyers, even young lawyers, enjoyed. The judges then, like Ceasar’ wife, were beyond suspicion. Even a small deviation from the path of probity and uprightness was not tolerated and questioned immediately.

I had been practicing in the Kerala High Court since 1984. The roster was changed every three months. The Chief Justice, undoubtedly, is the master of the roster. But they always change their own roster. Some of the Chief Justices even made it a point to sit for some time with every judge. In the Supreme Court the roster is so frequently changed and we have very diverse compositions of judges. I am familiar of the Bombay High Court for the last 15 years. Some Chief Justices have chosen to sit with certain judges for an unusually long time and chose to hear only certain kind of litigation involving high stakes, such as infrastructure. It led to many scandals. I refrain from taking names for obvious reasons.

The voice of the people is the voice of the God. When it comes to the affairs of the judiciary nobody dares to speak. It is the duty of the lawyers to speak, and speak fearlessly. Many are hesitant to speak because they fear being targeted, forgetting that they belong to a (once) noble profession. Back in the days of Blackstone, there was no press. The bar was the fourth estate. Fearless, informed, scholarly, and erudite. The cream of the society.
I am sure your Lordship will appreciate the concern of the Bar and take the requisite action.

Wishing your Lordship and the brother judges season’s greetings, I remain.

With kind regards,

Yours Sincerely,

Mathews J. Nedumpara