AdSense

Search This Blog

Labels

Monday, March 11, 2013

Justice Chandru retires - catches local train; walks back to home


In Triplicane and other parts of Chennai, posters have sprung up ~ wishing a person on his retirement….. that is pleasant surprise.. !! 


Retirements are  normal; We have seen so many in our lives with the passage of time…… it is a process where a person stops employment completely.  We are not speaking about anything forced but the natural retirement upon person reaching the prescribed age limit of 58 or 60….  In some ways, it is a happy event that somebody can take rest peacefully and perhaps devote his time and attention to religious or social activity ~ not required to work any longer……not all are fortunate..  retirement is  an emotional event for everyone and it is more emotional for the retiree.    

In most PSU, there was a well established procedure……. ~ the Department would often conduct a ‘Farewell party’ – presided by the Head of the Organisation / Head of that particular Department / or a Senior Executive of the Organisation.  People will speak of all the good characteristics that the individual displayed in their service; followed by an emotional speech of acceptance by the retiring employee.  He for sure will be given gifts [personal and official – most importantly the retrial benefits], will be garlanded [mostly garland made of sandalwood], given fruits [apple] and dropped at home in office conveyance with some colleagues accompanying him / her back home.  [there of course is the cardinal rule that the retired employee better not go to the office for he may never get that respect again !!]

Even Popes retire as Vatican witnessed recently.  Pope Benedict XVI bid an emotional farewell to his flock on the eve of his retirement, recalling in his final speech as pontiff moments of "joy and light" during his papacy but also times of difficulty when "it seemed like the Lord was sleeping."  Thousands flooded St. Peter's Square for Benedict's last general audience, eager to listen  to the final hours of a papacy that will go down in history as the first one in 600 years to end in resignation rather than death.

Back home in Chennai, it was sensational retirement as reported in almost all newspapers……… He is no ordinary person ~ but there have been so many of his rank, who have retired and there will be many who would retire later……. None to match this man perhaps ! ~ the Man Justice K Chandru, who had earlier written to Acting Chief Justice R.K. Agrawal requesting him not to arrange for a farewell meeting for him.  In his letter the Justice was quoted as stating that  “The practice of this court (in the name of tradition) is to have a farewell address in which the Advocate-General makes a farewell speech followed by a reply by the retiring judge. After the event, there will be a high tea and photo session. A dinner in a five-star hotel or elsewhere will also be organised. To end with it, a memento is given to the departing judge. “The ritual of a farewell meeting to a retired judge must be put an end to…I will be happy if March 8, 2013 passes off as any other day in this court.”

He quoted Motilal C. Setalvad, the first Attorney-General of the country, who had “deprecated” the practice of bidding farewell - “Whatever the Bar’s true opinion of the judge, the person who makes a reference to him at his retirement is bound to use sweet and sonorous words finding in His Lordship virtues and qualities which probably the Bar never had an occasion to experience during his tenure of office. The practice is also apt to lead to a division in the Bar, for occasionally there are differences of opinion on the merits and demerits of a judge among the practising members of the Bar,” Mr. Setalvad had said.

Mr Justice Chandru had requested to dispense with the farewell, high tea, photograph session, dinner and memento.  In his tenure, he had created records of sorts  and chose to have his retirement also different.  Just read the following………

Justice Chandru came to the Madras High Court in the morning in his official car to attend his last day of work. 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. After completing the day’s work, Justice Chandru went around the court premises and met companion judges, staff members and others, who bade farewell to him. A rousing reception and farewell was accorded to Justice Chandru, who was clad in a simple slack shirt and dhoti, when he visited the press room attached to the High Court, by journalists. Later, he walked up to his old office situated right opposite the High Court building and after spending some time there, walked straight to the Beach Station, where he boarded an MRTS train to reach home. For this purpose, he had purchased a railway season ticket with senior citizen concession.
Justice K Chandru : photos courtesy : Times of India

Born in Srirangam, in March 1951, Justice Chandru  had endeared himself to all with record clearance of backlog cases and exhibiting sincerity and friendliness to one and all – retired with dignity and great appreciation of masses.  During his seven-year stint donning the black robes on the elevated seat, the workaholic judge has disposed of more than 96,000 cases.  When he took over, Justice Chandru refused to entertain the colonial hangover that persisted in some of the functions of the judiciary. He gave a big no to advocates addressing him as ‘My Lord’. He declared the carrying of the ceremonial mace in front of judges as unnecessary.

He was known as people’s judge and perhaps lived up to that image; on that date after finishing official work, he slipped into a khadi kurta and dhoti; then walked across NSC Bose Road to join a group of his old friends,waiting at Sangeetha restaurant,to have coffee with them. He then reached the Beach Station and boarded a suburban MRTS train got down  Greenways Road station to walk home.  TOI & IENS report that by the time he emerged out about 150 advocates and many others jostled for space to get nearer him.  On the road, commoners including platform dwellers,vendors and rickshaw-pullers came rushing and greeted him with a vanakkam.He discouraged a rickshaw man from following him,and curtly told him to go and do his business.

Newspaper reports state that when reporters asked him about his prescription for reducing pendency of cases in courts, he said,: 1) lawyers should not boycott courts. 2) they should not take adjournments unnecessarily. 3) they must come to court after reading the case and laws.


I had in June 2010, posted one about  a special act of his.  In that month, the Apex Court pronounced judgment in a Civil appeal filed by Fuljit Kaur against State of Punjab & others. This had been filed in 2004 against a judgment and order of 1999 in writ petition of 1992 of the High Court of Punjab & Haryana. The appellant had made an application in Feb 1987 for allotment of a residential plot and protested the additional demand made in 1992.  Without going into the facts of the case, it was case in which final verdict came after a good 18 years……..  the victims of tragic Bhopal gas disaster underwent untold agonies for a measly settlement that took 26 long years…. there are very many cases where it has taken more than 30 long years; in that background Justice K Chandru delivered 75 verdicts in a single day. 

During his days, he stood tall to deliver Justice and flushed out the last vestiges of the colonial Raj like the archetypal mace bearer; and not addressing the Judge as My Lord;  he has walked out astonishing everyone with his simplicity. Great Man, indeed. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
11th March 2013.

3 comments:

  1. great to know about such a simple man who was exceptionally effective in rendering his professional duties.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A Judge is to be judged by the judgments he delivers and not by what he does otherwise = Chandru

    ReplyDelete
  3. Exactly. A judge is to be judged by the quality of the judgements he delivers and not by the number of judgements he delivers. Justice Chandru may have passed 96000 orders in his tenure but were they good fair judgements? He is known for his quick disposals and not for good orders.Good for records but were they good for the poor litigants? I doubt.

    ReplyDelete