Madras High Court

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Coordinates: 13°05′16″N 80°17′17″E / 13.08778°N 80.28812°E / 13.08778; 80.28812

Madras High Court
Chennai High Court.jpg
High Court Building
Established 1862
Country  India
Location

Principal Seat: Chennai

Circuit Bench: Madurai
Composition method Presidential with confirmation of Chief Justice of India and Governor of respective state.
Authorized by Constitution of India
Decisions are appealed to Supreme Court of India
Judge term length mandatory retirement by age of 62
No. of positions 60
Website Madras High Court
Chief Justice
Currently Indira Banerjee
Since 16 February 2017

The Madras High Court is the high court of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The court is one of the three High Courts in India established in the three Presidency Towns of Bombay, Calcutta and Madras by Letters patent granted by Her Majesty Queen Victoria, bearing date 26 June 1862. It exercises original jurisdiction over the city of Chennai and appellate jurisdiction over the entire state of Tamil Nadu and Union territory of Puducherry, as well as extraordinary original jurisdiction, civil and criminal, under the Letters Patent and special original jurisdiction for the issue of writs under the Constitution of India.[1][2]

It consists of 74 judges and a chief justice who are in charge of the general policy adopted in the administration of justice.[2] In September 2016, the centre government forwarded names of 15 new judges to the President for his signature on their warrants of appointment. Of the 15, nine are from among lawyers and six from the subordinate judiciary.[3] The current Chief justice Of Madras High Court is Indira Banerjee .She was sworn in on 5 April 2017.

History

From 1817 to 1862, the Supreme Court of Madras, the precursor to the present Madras High Court, was situated in a building opposite the Chennai Beach railway station. From 1862 to 1892, the High Court was also housed in that building. The present buildings were officially inaugurated on 12 July 1892, when the then Madras Governor, Beilby, Baron Wenlock, handed over the key to the then Chief Justice Sir Arthur Collins.[4]

The statue of Manuneethi Cholan in the Madras High Court premises

British India's three presidency towns of Madras (Chennai), Bombay (Mumbai), and Calcutta (Kolkata) were each granted a High Court by letters patent dated 26 June 1862.[5] The letters patent were issued by Queen Victoria under the authority of the British parliament's Indian High Courts Act 1861. The three courts remain unique in modern India, having been established under British royal charter; this is in contrast with the country's other high courts, which have been directly established under the Indian Constitution. However, the Constitution of India recognises the status of the older courts.

The Madras High Court was formed by merging the Supreme Court of Judicature at Madras, and the Sudder Dewanny Adawlut. The Court was required to decide cases in accordance with justice, equity and good conscience. The earliest judges of the High Court included Judges Holloway, Innes and Morgan. The first Indian to sit as a judge of the High Court was Justice T. Muthuswamy Iyer. Other early Indian judges included Justices V. Krishnaswamy Iyer and P. R. Sundaram Iyer.

The Madras High Court was a pioneer in Original Side jurisdiction reform in favour of Indian practitioners as early as the 1870s.

The Madras High Court's history means that the decisions of the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council are still binding on it, provided that the ratio of a case has not been over-ruled by the Supreme Court of India.

Although the name of the city was changed from Madras to Chennai in 1996, the Court as an institution did not follow suit, and retained the name as the Madras High Court. However, a Bill to rename the Madras High Court as the Chennai High Court was approved by the cabinet on 5 July 2016, along with the change of name of the Calcutta High Court and Bombay High Court as Kolkata High Court and Mumbai High Court respectively.[6] The Bill called High Courts (Alternation of Names) Bill has been introduced in the Lok Sabha on 19 July 2016.[7] The Bill is yet to be passed by both Houses of Parliament. However, the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly has passed a unanimous resolution appealing to the Central Government to rename the court as High Court of Tamil Nadu since the Court serves the whole state.[8]

Building Complex

Madras High Court

The High Court building was constructed after shifting out a couple of temples that were in existence on the land in the 19th century. The present building now used exclusively by the Madras High Court was actually built to house, along with the High Court, the Courts of Small Causes and the City Civil Court, which were subsequently shifted out to other new buildings on the campus.[9]

Construction of the High Court building, an exquisite example of Indo-Saracenic style of architecture, began in October 1888 and was completed in 1892 with the design prepared by J. W. Brassington, the then consulting architect to the government,[9] and later under the guidance of the famed architect Henry Irwin,[10] who completed it with the assistance of J. H. Stephens.

J. W. Brassington initially prepared a plan to construct a building with 11 court halls at an estimate of 945,000. Of these, six were meant for the High Court, four for the Small Causes court and one for the City Civil Court. An additional building to house the lawyers’ chambers was subsequently added to the plan, with a walkway on the first floor to connect it to the main building, increasing the total expenditure to 1,298,163. Complementing a 125-feet-tall standalone light house that was already in existence on the court campus, a dioptric light was built on the 142-feet-high main tower of the building, raising the total height of the tower to 175 feet.[9]

Save for the heavy steel girders and some ornamental tiles, almost all the materials for the construction were procured locally. Bricks and terracotta articles were brought from the government brick fields. Most of the construction work were executed by artisans trained at the School of Arts in the city.[9]

The High Court building was damaged in the shelling of Madras by S.M.S. Emden on 22 September 1914, at the beginning of the First World War. It remains one of the very few Indian buildings to have been damaged by a German attack.

There are several matters of architectural interest in the High Court. The painted ceilings and the stained glass doors are masterpieces in themselves. The old lighthouse of the city is housed within the High Court campus, but is unfortunately poorly maintained and is in disrepair.

The Department of Posts has allotted a Postal Index Number (PIN) code of 600 104 to the zone occupied by the Madras High Court. The boundaries of the High Court complex are marked by two roads, namely, Prakasam Road (formerly Broadway) and Rajaji Road (the old North Beach Road), stretching northward from the statue of Rajaji in the northeast and the statue of T. Prakasamgaru in the southwest within the complex. The complex houses the largest number of courts in Asia.[11]

Panoramic view of the High Court and its surroundings

Bench

The current Chief Justice of the Madras High Court is Hon'ble Ms. Justice Indira Banerjee. it currently has 48 judges, including the Chief Justice, who exercise civil, criminal, writ, testamentary and admiralty jurisdiction.[12] The Madurai Bench has been functioning since 2004.

The vestiges of the colonial High Court continue to characterise the premises till date. In a rare tradition which is today a distinction, Judges of the Madras High Court are still led by orderlies who bear a ceremonial mace made of silver. This is a practice so old and Anglican that most High Courts and even the Supreme Court of India have either not had the practice at all or have abandoned it long back.[13] 1569)

Reporting - Madras Law Journal (since 1891)

The Madras High Court is the birthplace of organised legal reporting in India. It is home to the Madras Law Journal.,[14] which was the first journal dedicated to reporting texts of judgments of the High Court started way back in 1891.

The High Courts, c. 1905

An informal eponymous club called The Saturday Club, that met at 11 a. m. every week, was started at the house of the Vakil Bar's senior member Sir S. Subramania Iyer in Mylapore in 1888 with all leading members of the Madras Bar taking part. At one of these meetings it was decided to start 'The Madras Law Journal', which was inspired by the then newly established periodicals like 'Law Quarterly Review', started by Sir Frederick Pollock in England in 1885 and 'The Harvard Law Review' established by Harvard Law School Association in 1887.

The objectives of the journal were laid out in the preface of the first issue: "In addition to giving our own reports of the decisions of the High Courts in Madras and other places, we hope to place before our readers translations of various Hindu Law Books which remain yet untranslated, insofar as they have bearing on questions which practically arise for decision every day in our Courts of Justice. We propose further from time to time, to place side by side the conflicting decisions of the various Courts in India on the same point in the hope that such procedure will enable the Courts to act in greater harmony than they do at present in the interpretation of Acts and enunciation of general principles of law and when this is not possible, to enable the Legislature to bring about such harmony by removing the ambiguities which may have given rise to such discordant views."

Right from the beginning, The Madras Law Journal has been a source of inspiration and instruction to the students of law and its notes and editorial reviews always evoked admiration and respect. It achieved well-deserved fame throughout India, in England and America and indeed throughout the British Empire for its quickness and accuracy in reporting and discrimination in the selection of cases to be reported. It has now came to occupy a premier place among legal periodicals in the country and its weight and authority have been consistently considerable with the Bench and the Bar in all parts of India.

Reporting - Madras Weekly Notes (Criminal and Civil) Since 1910 :-

Madras Weekly Notes is a Law Journal reporting the Criminal Side Judgements of the Hon'ble Madras High Court from 1910 to till date.

Mode of Citation : 1929 1 MWN(Cr.) 1 which means <Year> <Volume> <Journal Name> <Page Number>

Law Journals Reporting Judgements of the Hon'ble Madras High Court:-

CTC - Current TamilNadu Cases. CWC - Current Writ Cases. TNMAC - TamilNadu Motor Accident Cases.

Madurai Bench

Established in 2004, the court is a boon to the people in thirteen southern districts of Tamil Nadu. The bench has Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Madurai, Dindigul, Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, Theni, Sivaganga, Pudukottai, Tanjore, Tiruchi and Karur districts under its jurisdiction.

The sprawling 107-acre campus is one of the largest court campuses in the country and the spacious four-storey administrative building attracts hundreds of litigants every day. The court complex has 12 court halls, furnished on the model of the court halls in the Supreme Court, the Delhi and the Madras High Courts.

The court, since its inauguration on 24 July 2004, has perked up the legal process in the southern districts and has cultivated a large number of social activists, who vouch for the interest of the public though their public interest litigations.[15]

List of Chief Justices

Watercolour "Holy men outside Sir Thomas Strange house." In 1800, Strange became the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Fort St. George (Madras), British India.

Supreme Court

Chief Justice Term
Sir Thomas Andrew Lumisden Strange 1801–1816
Sir John Henry Newbolt 1816–1820
Sir Edmond Stanley 1820–1825
Sir Ralph Palmer 1825–1835
Sir Robert Buckley Comyn 1835–1842
Sir Edward John Gambier 1842–1850
Sir Christopher Rawlinson 1850–1859
Sir Henry Davison 1859–1860
Sir Colley Harman Scotland 1860–1861

High Court (British Administration)

Chief Justice Term
Sir Colley Harman Scotland 1861–1871
Sir Adam Bittleston 1866–1867 (acting)
Sir Walter Morgan 1871–1879
Sir Charles Arthur Turner 1879–1885
Sir Arthur John Hammond Collins 1885–1898
Charles Arnold White 1899–1914
John Edward Power Wallis 1914–1921
Sir Walter George Salis Schwabe 1921–1924
Sir Murray Coutts-Tratter 1924–1929
Sir Horace Owen Compton Beasley 1929–1937
Sir Alfred Henry Lionel Leach 1937–1947
Sir Frederick William Gentle 1947–1948

High Court (Indian Administration)

Chief Justice Term
Justice P. V. Rajamannar 1948 – 10 May 1961
Justice S. Ramachandra Iyer 10 May 1961 – 23 November 1964
Justice Palagani Chandra Reddy 23 November 1964 – 1 July 1966
Justice M. Anantanarayanan 1 July 1966 – 1 May 1969
Justice Kuppuswami Naidu Veeraswami 1 May 1969 – 8 April 1976
Justice Palapatti Sadaya Goundar Kailasam 8 April 1976 – 3 January 1977
Justice Padmanabhapillay Govindan Nair 3 January 1977 – 29 May 1978
Justice Tayi Ramaprasada Rao 29 May 1978 – 6 November 1979
Justice Muhammad Kassim Muhammad Ismail 6 November 1979 – 12 March 1982
Justice Krishna Ballabh Narayan Singh 12 March 1982 – 2 April 1984
Justice Madhukar Narhar Chandurkar 2 April 1984 – 19 October 1989
Justice Adarsh Sein Anand 1 November 1989 – 16 June 1992
Justice Kanta Kumari Bhatnagar 15 June 1992 – 1 July 1993
Justice Kudarikoti Annadanayya Swamy 1 July 1993 – 7 July 1997
Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan 7 July 1997 – 25 May 1999
Justice Ashok Chhotelal Agarwal 24 May – 9 September 1999
Justice Konakuppakattil Gopinathan Balakrishnan 9 September 1999 – 13 September 2000
Justice Nagendra Kumar Jain 13 January 2000 – 12 September 2001
Justice B. Subhashan Reddy 12 September 2001 – 28 November 2004
Justice Markandey Katju 28 November 2004 – 12 November 2005
Justice Ajit Prakash Shah 12 November 2005 – 11 May 2008
Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly 21 May 2008 – 9 March 2009[16]
Justice Hemant Laxman Gokhale 9 March 2009 – 10 June 2010
Justice M Y Iqbal 11 June 2010 – 6 February 2013
Justice Rajesh Kumar Agrawal 7 February 2013 – 23 October 2013 (Acting)
24 October 2013 – 12 February 2014
Justice Satish K Agnihotri 13 February 2014 – 25 July 2014 (Acting) [17]
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul 26 July 2014 – 15 February 2017 [18]
Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh 16 February 2017 - 4 April 2017 (Acting)
Justice Indira Banerjee 5 April 2017-

See also

References

  1. ^ "Madras High Court". BSNL. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "History of Madras High Court". Madras High Court. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "High Court to get 15 new judges next week". thehindu.com. Retrieved 9 May 2017. 
  4. ^ Sangameswaran, K. T.; Vivek Narayanan (8 June 2014). "Madras High Court buildings to undergo repairs soon". The Hindu. Chennai: The Hindu. Retrieved 22 June 2014. 
  5. ^ "Madras High Court". www.hcmadras.tn.nic.in. Retrieved 9 May 2017. 
  6. ^ "Cabinet renames high courts in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai". indianexpress.com. 5 July 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2017. 
  7. ^ PTI. "Govt. moves Bill to change names of High Courts". thehindu.com. Retrieved 9 May 2017. 
  8. ^ "Rename Madras high court as Tamil Nadu HC and not as Chennai HC, resolution passed by TN assembly says - Times of India". indiatimes.com. Retrieved 9 May 2017. 
  9. ^ a b c d Mohamed Imranullah, S. (16 September 2017). "A timeless edifice serving justice celebrates 125 years today". The Hindu. Chennai: The Hindu. Retrieved 29 September 2017. 
  10. ^ "Restoring the old Article from NewIndPress news website". newindpress.com. Retrieved 9 May 2017. 
  11. ^ Chandru, K. (26 November 2011). "Some thoughts around the Madras High Court". The Hindu. Chennai: The Hindu. Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  12. ^ http://www.hcmadras.tn.nic.in/prejudge.htm
  13. ^ "Lordships cling to colonial mace". The Hindu. 7 February 2013. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  14. ^ [1] Archived 13 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ "The 'green bench' that has delivered landmark judgements". The Hindu. 
  16. ^ "Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly to be Chief Justice of Madras High Court". The India Post. 21 May 2008. Retrieved 26 November 2009. 
  17. ^ "Madras High Court". www.hcmadras.tn.nic.in. Retrieved 9 May 2017. 
  18. ^ "Madras High Court". www.hcmadras.tn.nic.in. Retrieved 9 May 2017. 

External links

  • Madras Law Journal (MLJ) web site (to access decisions of the Madras High Court since 1891).
  • High Court of Madras web site.
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