Chennai: In these days of prolonged litigation and stiff-lipped judges, Judge Jayanthi Isac at the district legal aid services authority here stands out as a different kind of justice deliverer. She hopped into an autorickshaw along with two poor litigants to go to the TN Slum Clearance Board office in the city to get the ownership papers for the small plot of land that the board had allotted to their father way back in 1993.
Fifty-two-year-old Ellayammal of Siva Shanmugapuram of Purasuwalkam is on cloud nine now, recounting that auto ride with the humanist judge. “We have been knocking at the slum board doors for the last 24 years for the allotment paper. Nothing moved for years even after we petitioned the legal aid services authority. When Judge Amma (Jayanthi) was posted here four months ago, she saw our sad predicament and took pity when she heard the miserable story.
“Judge Amma wrote to the slum board and phoned the officials there to speed up the remedy. When nothing happened, she just hailed an auto on Monday evening and took us to the slum board office. She told the officials there sternly she would not accept any further delay in justice being meted out to us. We watched in awe as the officials worked like they were on fire and delivered the ownership papers within two hours. My brother Marimuthu and I will be eternally grateful to Judge Amma, who is actually our Mother Mary”.
Judge Jayanthi sought to downplay her unique gesture in getting relief for the poor siblings. “I wrote to the slum board officials and spoke to them on phone many times to release the ownership papers but they were dragging their feet. At one stage, they said Marimuthu and Ellayammal should pay Rs 15,000 but I said that was not fair considering that the two have spent many years running from pillar to post for the papers which should have given to them long time back. Finally I decided I must go there myself”, the judge told Deccan Chronicle.
Taken aback at the judge herself marching into their office with the two petitioners, the slum board officials profusely apologised and delivered the papers within a couple of hours.
“Thanks to Judge Amma, we will now put up a small hut on our own land and live peacefully. I am a poor widow and my only daughter is with me after her husband deserted her”, said Ellayammal.
This is not the first time that Judge Jayanthi’s heart bled for a poor, and helpless, litigant. She received an award a couple of years ago from the then Chief Justice (of the Madras high court) after news leaked that she had paid Rs 2000 from her purse to rid a poor woman of her bank loan burden.