Madras HC Judges raises concern over seating protocol at swearing-in

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The judges also faced difficulties in reaching their seats as they were placed close to each other.

Governor Banwarilal Purohit and the new Chief Justice of Madras high court Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani with the latter’s Warrant of Appointment during the swearing-in ceremony in Raj Bhavan on Sunday. Also seen is Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami. (Photo:DC)

Chennai: The Madras High court Judges were provided seats in rows behind Ministers and top police officials in the function as the first four rows were allotted to Ministers and police officials. The judges also faced difficulties in reaching their seats as they were placed close to each other.

Raising serious concern over allotting seats to the Madras High court judges behind Ministers and Police officials during the function, Justice M.S. Ramesh has sought an explanation. In a statement, Justice Ramesh said with dismay, “I am constrained to bring on record the incautious protocol extended to the Judges of the Madras High Court at today’s swearing-in ceremony by the organizers of Raj Bhavan. It was not only a disappointment but an issue of serious concern.”

He asked whether the Raj Bhavan was unaware of the hierarchy between Constitutional dignitaries and police officers? “Or is it their understanding that the HC Judges rank below the order of Ministers and Police Officers?”

“Being an official function, there cannot be a second opinion that the protocol to be extended was for the post and not the individual. I am given to understand from the High Court Registrarliaison that his prior request to oversee the seating arrangements for the HC Judges was denied by Raj Bhavan. If it could be true, it is rather unfortunate that it can only be termed to be deliberate act of extending a cold shoulder to us,” the message read.

“We deserve an explanation...!! It would not be out of place to mention here that earlier this year, the HC Judges were pushed out of their legitimate seats during the Thirukalyanam at Meenakshi Amman temple at Madurai to accommodate Ministers and politicians. The concern we had raised in this regard is yet to be answered,” the judge said.

Madras HC sworn-in
Justice Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court on Sunday with Governor Banwarilal Purohit administering the oath of office at a ceremony in Raj Bhavan. 

Justice Tahilramani, who was the acting chief justice of the Bombay High Court, was recently appointed Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, succeeding Justice Indira Banerjee, who has been elevated to the Supreme Court.

Justice Tahilramani is the third woman chief justice of the Madras High Court. Banerjee, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami, his deputy O Panneerselvam, besides judges of the Madras High Court and a team of 11 judges from the Bombay High Court were among those who attended the swearing in ceremony.